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Is The Antibacterial Activity Of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (MWCNTs) Related To Antibiotic Resistance? An Assessment In Clinical Isolates

Pasqualina Laganà, Giuseppa Visalli, Alessio Facciolà, Marianna Pruiti Ciarello, Antonio Laganà, Daniela Iannazzo, Angela Di Pietro

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Antimicrobial resistance has spread globally, compromising the treatment of common infections. This feature is particularly harmful for nosocomial pathogens that can survive on hospital surfaces. Research studies have been conducted to evaluate new materials that are able to counteract the microbial growth and the colonization of the hospital environment. In this context, nanotechnologies have showed encouraging applications. We investigated the antibacterial activity of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), both pristine (p) and functionalized (f), at concentrations of 50 and 100 μg mL−1, against bacterial strains isolated from hospital-acquired infections, and this activity was correlated with the antibiotic susceptibility of the strains. The inhibiting effect of MWCNTs occurred for both types and doses tested. Moreover, f-MWCNTs exerted a greater inhibiting effect, with growth decreases greater than 10% at 24 h and 20% at 48 h compared to p-MWCNTs. Moreover, a lower inhibitory effect of MWCNTs, which was more lasting in Gram-positives resistant to cell wall antibiotics, or temporary in Gram-negatives resistant to nucleic acid and protein synthesis inhibitors, was observed, highlighting the strong relation between antibiotic resistance and MWCNT effect. In conclusion, an antimicrobial activity was observed especially for f-MWCNTs that could therefore be loaded with bioactive antimicrobial molecules. However, this potential application of CNTs presupposes the absence of toxicity and therefore total safety for patients.