Infectious microbial diseases can easily be transferred from person to person in the air or via high contact surfaces. As a result, researchers must aspire to create materials that can be implemented in surface contact applications to disrupt pathogen growth and transmission. Silver (Ag) is known to possess antimicrobial activity and has been used in the past in various pharmaceutical applications. Herein, we examine the antimicrobial properties of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) nanofibers coated with different concentrations of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) was homogenized with varied weight concentrations of silver nitrate (AgNO3) in N,N-Dimethylformamide (DMF) solution, a common organic solvent that serves as both an electrospinning solvent and as a reducing agent that forms AgNPs. The subsequent colloids were electrospun into nanofibers, which were then characterized via various analysis techniques, including Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), Energy Dispersive X-Ray (EDX) Analysis, Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), and X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). 10 microbes, including 7 strains of Gram-positive bacteria, 2 strains of Gram-negative bacteria, and Candida albicans were incubated with cutouts of various PAN-AgNP nanocomposites using disk diffusion methods to test for the nanocomposites’ antimicrobial efficiency. We report that PAN-AgNP nanocomposites retain a certain degree of antimicrobial longetivity; samples stored for approximately 90 days demonstrate similar antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Lactobacillus crispatus (L. crispatus) when compared to their newly electrospun counterparts. Moreover, our results indicate that PAN-AgNP nanocomposites successfully display antimicrobial activity against various bacteria and fungi strains regardless of their resistance to conventional antibiotics. Our study demonstrates that PAN-AgNP nanocomposites can potentially be applied to surfaces at risk of contracting microbial infections.
Supplementary Materials for Electrospun Polyacrylonitrile Silver Nanoparticle (PAN-AgNP) Nanocomposites as Alternative Antimicrobial Materials