The aim of the present work was the development of polymer films loaded with a carvacrol (CVR)/clay hybrid (HYBD) for the delivery of CRV in infected skin ulcer treatment. Different clays were considered: montmorrilonite, halloysite and palygorskite (PHC). CRV incorporation in PHC reduced its volatility. HYBD showed 20% w/w CRV loading capacity and was able to preserve CRV antioxidant properties. HYBD was characterized by improved antimicrobial properties against S. aureus and E. coli and cytocompatibility towards human fibroblasts with respect to pure CRV.
Films were prepared by casting an aqueous dispersion containing poly(vinylalcohol) (PVA), poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP), chitosan glutamate (CS), sericin and HYBD. Optimization of film composition was supported by a Design of Experiments (DoE) approach. In a screening phase, a full factorial design (FFD) was used and the following factors were investigated at two levels: PVA (12–14% w/w), PVP (2–4% w/w) and CS (0.134–0.5% w/w) concentrations. For the optimization phase, FFD was expanded to a “central composite design”. The response variables considered were: elongation, tensile strength and buffer absorption of films, durability of the gels formed after film hydration. Upon hydration, the optimized film formed a viscoelastic gel able to protect the lesion area and to modulate CRV release.