Using N,N-dimethylacetamide (DMAc) as a reducing agent in the presence of PVP-K30, the stable silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) solution was prepared by a convenient method for the in situ reduction of silver nitrate. The cellulose–Ag-NPs composite film (CANF) was cast in the same container using lithium chloride (LiCl) giving the Ag-NPs-PVP/DMAc solution cellulose solubility as well as γ-mercaptopropyltrimethoxysilane (MPTS) to couple Ag-NPs and cellulose. The results showed that the Ag-NPs were uniformly dispersed in solution, and the solution had strong antibacterial activities. It was found that the one-pot synthesis allowed the growth of and cross-linking with cellulose processes of Ag-NPs conducted simultaneously. Approximately 61% of Ag-NPs was successfully loaded in CANF, and Ag-NPs were uniformly dispersed in the surface and internal of the composite film. The composite film exhibited good tensile properties (tensile strength could reach up to 86.4 MPa), transparency (light transmittance exceeds 70%), thermal stability, and remarkable antibacterial activities. The sterilization effect of CANF0.04 against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli exceed 99.9%. Due to low residual LiCl/DMAc and low diffusion of Ag-NPs, the composite film may have potential for applications in food packaging and bacterial barrier.
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