Tailoring surface properties by layer-by-layer (LBL) deposition directed on the construction of complex multilayer coatings with nanoscale precision enables the development of novel structures and devices with desired functional properties (i.e., osseointegration, bactericidal activity, biocorrosion protection). Herein, electrostatic self-assembly was applied to fabricate biopolymer-based coatings involving chitosan (CSM) and alginate (AL) enriched with caffeic acid (CA) on Ti-6Al-7Nb alloyed surfaces. The method of CA grafting onto the chitosan backbone (CA-g-CSM) as well as all used reagents for implant functionalization were chosen as green and sustainable approach. The final procedure of surface modification of the Ti-6Al-7Nb alloy consists of three steps: (i) chemical treatment in Piranha solution, (ii) plasma chemical-activation of the Ti alloy surface in a RF CVD (Radio Frequency Chemical Vapour Deposition) reactor using Ar, O2 and NH3 gaseous precursors, and (iii) a multi-step deposition of bio-functional coatings via dip-coating method. Corrosion tests have revealed that the resulting chitosan-based coatings, also these involving CA, block the specimen surface and hinder corrosion of titanium alloy. Furthermore, the antioxidant layers are characterized by beneficial level of roughness (Ra up ca. 350 nm) and moderate hydrophilicity (59°) with the dispersion part of conducive surface energy ca. 30 mJ/m2. Noteworthy, all coatings are biocompatible as the intact morphology of cultured eukaryotic cells ensured proper growth and proliferation, while exhibit bacteriostatic character, particularly in contact with Gram-(-) bacteria (E. coli). The study indicates that the applied simple sustainable strategy has contributed significantly to obtaining homogeneous, stable, and biocompatible while antibacterial biopolymer-based coatings.
Bio-functional coatings; Caffeic acid; Chitosan; Implants; Plasma activation; Ti-6Al-7Nb alloy.
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