Introduction: Bacterial proliferation in health environments may lead to the development of specific pathologies, but can be highly dangerous under particular conditions, such as during chemotherapy. To limit the spread of infections, it is helpful to use gauzes and clothing containing antibacterial agents. As cotton tissues are widespread in health care environments, in this contribution we report the preparation of cellulose fibers characterized by the covalent attachment of lipopeptides as possible antimicrobial agents. Aim: To covalently link peptides to cotton samples and characterize them. Peptides are expected to preserve the features of the fabrics even after repeated washing and use. Peptides are well tolerated by the human body and do not induce resistance in bacteria. Materials and Methods: A commercially available cotton tissue (specific weight of 150 g/m2
, 30 Tex yarn fineness, fabric density of 270/230 threads/10 cm in the warp and weft) was washed with alkali and bleached and died. A piece of this tissue was accurately weighed, washed with methanol (MeOH) and N
-dimethylformamide (DMF), and air-dried. Upon incubation with epibromohydrin, followed by treatment with Fmoc-NH-CH2
and Fmoc removal, the peptides were synthesized by incorporating one amino acid at a time, beginning with the formation of an amide bond with the free NH2
of 1,2–diaminoethane. We also linked to the fibers a few peptide dendrimers, because the mechanism of action of these peptides often requires the formation of clusters. We prepared and characterized seven peptide-cotton samples. Results: The new peptide-cotton conjugates were characterized by means of FT-IR spectroscopy and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). This latter technique allows for discriminating among different amino acids and thus different peptide-cotton samples. Some samples maintain a pretty good whiteness degree even after peptide functionalization. Interestingly, these samples also display encouraging activities against a Gram positive strain. Conclusions: Potentially antimicrobial lipopeptides can be covalently linked to cotton fabrics, step-by-step. It is also possible to build on the cotton Lys-based dendrimers. XPS is a useful technique to discriminate among different types of nitrogen. Two samples displaying some antibacterial potency did also preserve their whiteness index.
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