Antibacterial and degradation properties of dialdehyded and aminohexamethylated nanocelluloses
Dialdehyde cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) and nanocrystals (CNC) were prepared via periodate oxidation (CNF/CNC-ox) and subsequently functionalized with hexamethylenediamine (HMDA) via a Schiff-base reaction, resulting in partially crosslinked micro-sized (0.5–10 μm) particles (CNF/CNC-ox-HMDA) with an aggregation and sedimentation tendency in an aqueous media, as assessed by Dynamic Light Scattering and Scanning Electron Microscopy. The antibacterial efficacy, aquatic in vivo (to Daphnia magna) and human in vitro (to A594 lung cells) toxicities, and degradation profiles in composting soil of all forms of CNF/CNC were assessed to define their safety profile. CNF/CNC-ox-HMDA exhibited higher antibacterial activity than CNF/CNC-ox and higher against Gram-positive S. aureus than Gram-negative E. coli, yielding a bacteria reduction of >90 % after 24 h of exposure at the minimum (≤2 mg/mL), but potentially moderately/aquatic and low/human toxic concentrations (≥50 mg/L). The presence of anionic, un/protonated amino-hydrophobized groups in addition to unconjugated aldehydes of hydrodynamically smaller (<1 μm) CNC-ox-HMDA increased the reduction of both bacteria to log 9 at ≥4 mg/mL and their bactericidal activity. While only CNF/CNC-ox can be considered as biosafe and up to >80 % biodegradable within 24 weeks, this process was inhibited for the CNF/CNC-ox-HMDA. This indicated their different stability, application and disposal after use (composting vs. recycling).