Electrospun Polyacrylonitrile Silver(I,III) Oxide Nanoparticle Nanocomposites as Alternative Antimicrobial Materials

William B. Wang, Chieh Yu Pan, Eng Yen Huang, Bai Jing Peng, Jonathan Hsu, Jude C. Clapper

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

3 Scopus citations


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. This study examines the antimicrobial properties of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) nanofibers coated with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and silver(I,III) oxide. PAN was homogenized with varied weight concentrations of silver nitrate (AgNO3) in N,N-dimethylformamide 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, transmission electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, dynamic light scattering, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. A total of 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 our electrospun PAN-AgNP nanocomposites contain 100% AgO, a rare, mixed oxidation state of silver(I,III) oxide that is a better sterilizing agent than conventional nanosilver. PAN-AgNP nanocomposites also retain a certain degree of antimicrobial longevity; samples stored for approximately 90 days demonstrate a 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, a novel polymer material with long-term universal antimicrobial stability, can potentially be applied as a universal antimicrobial on surfaces at risk of contracting microbial infections and alleviate issues related to antibiotic overuse and microbial mutability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48173-48183
Number of pages11
JournalACS Omega
Issue number51
StatePublished - 27 12 2022

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