Functionalized raft polymers for the synthetic induction of Escherichia coli biofilms

Brioso Jiménez, José Luis (2023). Functionalized raft polymers for the synthetic induction of Escherichia coli biofilms. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Bacterial biofilms are clusters of microorganisms, embedded in a protective extracellular polymeric matrix, that attach to and colonize biotic and abiotic surfaces. Biofilms are extremely resilient and are responsible for recalcitrant infections and biofouling of industrial material, but there are also multiple industrial uses for biofilm communities in bioreactors, bioremediation, and wastewater treatment. There have been advances within the research community to design materials that are able to modulate bacterial behaviour to induce aggregation and synthetic biofilm formation to sequester bacteria and prevent them from colonizing surfaces, or to induce the formation of synthetic biofilm communities with biotechnological purposes in the industrial sector.

The main topic of this PhD thesis was to investigate the effects of some RAFT linear polymers over the biofilm formation behaviour of Escherichia coli aiming to design and test polymeric materials able to aggregate E. coli and induce synthetic biofilm formation.

The main polymer used during this research was poly(acryloyl hydrazide) (PAH), a linear polymer scaffold which hydrazide side chains can be easily modified via post-polymerization functionalization in aqueous conditions without the need of further purification steps to test different functional groups to target E. coli aggregation and biofilm formation. The results findings obtained during this research suggest that positively charged PAH without further functionalization was able to aggregate and induce biofilm formation in E. coli due to electrostatic nonspecific interactions. PAH functionalized with carbohydrates moieties were able to also aggregate and induce the formation of thicker biofilms in E. coli. Part of this research was devoted to study the chemical stability of the functionalized PAH’s over time, and the co-functionalization of PAH with two different functional groups at the same time was pursued with successful results.

In this manuscript I report for the first time the synthesis, characterization, and loading stability of the novel poly(acryloylglycine hydrazide), a linear scaffold that can be easily functionalized under aqueous conditions without the need of further purification steps. This polymer has a similar structure to PAH, and was designed with the aim to improve on the functionalization loading efficiencies with diverse model functional groups.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Chemical Engineering
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry


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