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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(4), 7995-8007; doi:10.3390/ijms16047995

Antimicrobial Action of Water-Soluble β-Chitosan against Clinical Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria

Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, Sunchon National University, 255 Jungang-ro, Suncheon, Jeonnam 540-950, Korea
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Antonella Piozzi
Received: 2 March 2015 / Revised: 30 March 2015 / Accepted: 7 April 2015 / Published: 10 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Polymers 2016)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1643 KB, uploaded 10 April 2015]   |  


Recently, the number of patients infected by drug-resistant pathogenic microbes has increased remarkably worldwide, and a number of studies have reported new antibiotics from natural sources. Among them, chitosan, with a high molecular weight and α-conformation, exhibits potent antimicrobial activity, but useful applications as an antibiotic are limited by its cytotoxicity and insolubility at physiological pH. In the present study, the antibacterial activity of low molecular weight water-soluble (LMWS) α-chitosan (α1k, α5k, and α10k with molecular masses of 1, 5, and 10 kDa, respectively) and β-chitosan (β1k, β5k, and β10k) was compared using a range of pathogenic bacteria containing drug-resistant bacteria isolated from patients at different pH. Interestingly, β5k and β10k exhibited potent antibacterial activity, even at pH 7.4, whereas only α10k was effective at pH 7.4. The active target of β-chitosan is the bacterial membrane, where the leakage of calcein is induced in artificial PE/PG vesicles, bacterial mimetic membrane. Moreover, scanning electron microscopy showed that they caused significant morphological changes on the bacterial surfaces. An in vivo study utilizing a bacteria-infected mouse model found that LMWS β-chitosan could be used as a candidate in anti-infective or wound healing therapeutic applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: β-chitosan; multidrug-resistant bacteria; antibacterial activity; low molecular water-soluble chitosan β-chitosan; multidrug-resistant bacteria; antibacterial activity; low molecular water-soluble chitosan

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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Park, S.-C.; Nam, J.-P.; Kim, J.-H.; Kim, Y.-M.; Nah, J.-W.; Jang, M.-K. Antimicrobial Action of Water-Soluble β-Chitosan against Clinical Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16, 7995-8007.

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