Nano-Micro Letters

A Review on Surface-Functionalized Cellulosic Nanostructures as Biocompatible Antibacterial Materials

Mandana Tavakolian1, 2, 3, Seid Mahdi Jafari4, *, Theo G.M. van de Ven2, 3, 5, *

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Nano-Micro Lett. (2020) 12: 73

First Online: 14 March 2020 (Review)


*Corresponding author. E-mail: (Seid Mahdi Jafari); (Theo G.M. van de Ven)





As the most abundant biopolymer on the earth, cellulose has recently gained significant attention in the development of antibacterial biomaterials. Biodegradability, renewability, strong mechanical properties, tunable aspect ratio, and low density offer tremendous possibilities for the use of cellulose in various fields. Owing to the high number of reactive groups (i.e., hydroxyl groups) on the cellulose surface, it can be readily functionalized with various functional groups, such as aldehydes, carboxylic acids, amines, etc., leading to diverse properties. In addition, the ease of surface modification of cellulose expands the range of compounds which can be grafted onto its structure, such as proteins, polymers, metal nanoparticles, and antibiotics. There are many studies in which cellulose nano/microfibrils and nanocrystals are used as a support for antibacterial agents. However, little is known about the relationship between cellulose chemical surface modification and its antibacterial activity or biocompatibility. In this study, we have summarized various techniques for surface modifications of cellulose nanostructures and its derivatives along with their antibacterial and biocompatibility behavior to develop non-leaching and durable antibacterial materials. Despite the high effectiveness of surface-modified cellulosic antibacterial materials, more studies on their mechanism of action, the relationship between their properties and their effectivity, and more in vivo studies are required. 



Cellulose; Nanocellulose; Surface modification; Antibacterial activity; Biocompatibility

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