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Title: Novel biopolymer constructs : physical properties and antimicrobial efficacy
Author: Leung, Yeung Shan Shandy
ISNI:       0000 0004 8497 977X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a life-threatening issue and the situation is deteriorating each year resulting in an increasing number of deaths. The resistance of drugs developed by microbes is a natural process but this can be sped up easily due to unhygienic environments, lack of appropriate guidelines for the use of drugs in certain countries as well as the unclear direction of scientific research into AMR. Some pessimistic experts even believe this problem will never be tackled as it is the result of a long-term human intervention that has affected other biological organisms which inhabit the same ecosystem. Fortunately, such negative comments and predictions have actually accelerated momentum and encouraged and inspired more research activity in this area. In this project, the main idea involved producing a selection of biopolymer constructs with the specific aim of translating the intrinsic antimicrobial properties of naturally occurring materials (e.g. chitin, lignin, banana leaf) to a biodegradable polymer (PLA) for possible biomedical applications (e.g. would healing). All chitin, lignin and natural products (e.g. banana leaves) have one thing in common which is that they all exhibit intrinsic antimicrobial properties and have great potential for use as non-toxic antimicrobial materials. Versatile engineering tools such as electrospinning, melt-extrusion and injection moulding also allow us to produce additional materials and visualise the possibility of producing the products on an industrial scale. The first interest in this project lied on using ionic liquids (ILs), electrospinning and film casting to produce novel biomaterials. In the later stage of the project, poly(L-lactic acid) as a base polymer matrix, tungsten disulphide and triacetin as a plasticizer were introduced that can be subjected to melt-extrusion and injection moulding along with chitin and lignin. In this report, the history of antibiotic discovery and key features of antimicrobial resistance are introduced. Previous research conducted is also described in a detailed literature review with supporting evidence focused on chitin, lignin, banana leaves, poly(L-lactic acid), tungsten disulphide as well as techniques used in this project such as electrospinning and melt-extrusion. The detail of the initial scoping experiments electrospinning of biopolymer/ionic liquid solutions is then described as is the introduction of co-solvents and other polymers to assist the electrospinning process. The characteristics of the composites produced using melt-extrusion and injection moulding are also fully discussed. More importantly, bioassays of the composites will be shown which to provide crucial ideas for the key elements required for biomedical applications.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QR Microbiology ; TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)