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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 410423, 18 pages
Review Article

The Interaction of Bacteria with Engineered Nanostructured Polymeric Materials: A Review

1Materials Engineering Center, UdR INSTM, University of Perugia, 05100 Terni, Italy
2Research Unit on Implant Infections, Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute, Via di Barbiano 1/10, 40136 Bologna, Italy
3Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine (DIMES), University of Bologna, Via San Giacomo 14, 40126 Bologna, Italy
4Department of Bioscience, University of Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 11/a, 43124 Parma, Italy
5Department of Occupational Medicine, Ergonomy and Disability, Nanotechnology Laboratory, Salvatore Maugeri Foundation, IRCCS, Via S. Boezio 28, 27100 Pavia, Italy
6Department of Molecular Medicine, Center for Tissue Engineering (CIT), INSTM UdR of Pavia, University of Pavia, Viale Taramelli 3/b, 27100 Pavia, Italy
7Institute of Polymer Science and Technology, CSIC Juan de la Cierva 3, 28006 Madrid, Spain
8Department of Public Health, Experimental Medicine and Forensics, University of Pavia, Via Forlanini 2, 27100 Pavia, Italy

Received 24 February 2014; Revised 8 May 2014; Accepted 10 May 2014; Published 15 June 2014

Academic Editor: Angel Concheiro

Copyright © 2014 Ilaria Armentano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bacterial infections are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. In spite of great advances in biomaterials research and development, a significant proportion of medical devices undergo bacterial colonization and become the target of an implant-related infection. We present a review of the two major classes of antibacterial nanostructured materials: polymeric nanocomposites and surface-engineered materials. The paper describes antibacterial effects due to the induced material properties, along with the principles of bacterial adhesion and the biofilm formation process. Methods for antimicrobial modifications of polymers using a nanocomposite approach as well as surface modification procedures are surveyed and discussed, followed by a concise examination of techniques used in estimating bacteria/material interactions. Finally, we present an outline of future sceneries and perspectives on antibacterial applications of nanostructured materials to resist or counteract implant infections.