Methylene Blue Doped Films of Wool Keratin with Antimicrobial Photodynamic Activity

Annalisa Aluigi, Giovanna Sotgiu, Armida Torreggiani, Andrea Guerrini, Viviana T. Orlandi, Franco Corticelli, Greta Varchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


In this work, keratin films doped with different amounts of methylene blue (MB) were developed in order to prepare new biodegradable and biocompatible materials for tissue engineering and wound healing, able to exert antimicrobial photodynamic activity upon irradiation with visible light. Preliminary results indicated that the swelling ratio, as well as the MB release, increases by increasing the pH. Moreover, the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and singlet oxygen can be easily triggered and controlled by a fine-tuning of the irradiation time and MB concentration in the films. As concerns the photodynamic effects on keratin, the ROS attack does not induce any significant photodegradation on the protein, even if a slight photo-oxidation of sulfonated amino acids occurs. Finally, the film with the highest MB concentration (400 g per gram of keratin) displays a significant photobactericidal activity against Staphylococcus aureus with a bacterial reduction that increases by increasing the irradiation time. In particular, the irradiation of KFMB400 film incubated with S. aureus at a concentration of 108 cfu mL-1 determined the 99.9% killing rate and the killing effect increased proportionally with irradiation time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17416-17424
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number31
StatePublished - Aug 12 2015


  • antimicrobial photodynamic therapy
  • film
  • keratin
  • methylene blue
  • protein damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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