Dual pH- and electro-responsive antibiotic-loaded polymeric platforms for effective bacterial detection and elimination

Brenda G. Molina, Roshan B. Vasani, Karyn L. Jarvis, Elaine Armelin, Nicolas H. Voelcker, Carlos Alemán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We describe a multi-tasking flexible system that is able to release a wide spectrum antibiotic (levofloxacin, LVX) under electrostimulation and act as a pH sensor for detecting bacterial infections. Combining anodic polymerization with plasma polymerization processes we engineered dual pH- and electro-responsive polymeric systems. Particularly, the manufactured devices consisted on a layer of poly(hydroxymethyl-3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PHEDOT) loaded with the LVX antibiotic and coated with a plasma polymer layer of poly(acrylic acid) (PAA). The PHEDOT acted as conductive and electro-responsive agent, while the PAA provided pH responsiveness, changing from a compact globular conformation in acid environments to an expanded open coil conformation in alkaline environments. The assembly between the PHEDOT layer and the PAA coating affected the electrochemical response of the former, becoming dependent on the pH detected by the latter. The conformational change experienced by the PAA layer as a function of the pH and the redox properties of PHEDOT were leveraged for the electrochemical detection of bacteria growth and for regulating the release of the LVX antibiotic, respectively. The effectiveness of the system as a stimulus-responsive antibiotic carrier and pH sensor was also investigated on strains of Escherichia coli and Streptococcus salivarius.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105434
Number of pages12
JournalReactive and Functional Polymers
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Conducting polymer
  • Drug delivery
  • Electrostimulation
  • pH sensor
  • Poly(acrylic acid)

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