Aspects of the in vitro bioactivity and antimicrobial properties of Ag+- and Zn2+-exchanged 11 Å tobermorites

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11 Å tobermorite, Ca5Si6O16(OH)2 • 4H2O, is a layer lattice ion exchange mineral whose potential as a carrier for Ag+ and Zn2+ ions in antimicrobial, bioactive formulations has not yet been explored. In view of this, the in vitro bioactivity of Ag+- and Zn2+-exchanged 11 Å tobermorites and their bactericidal action against S. aureus and P. aeruginosa are reported. The in vitro bioactivity of the synthetic unsubstituted tobermorite phase was confirmed by the formation of bone-like hydroxycarbonate apatite (HCA) on its surface within 48 h of contact with simulated body fluid. The substitution of labile Ag+ ions into the tobermorite lattice delayed the onset of HCA-formation to 72 h; whereas, the Zn2+-substituted phase failed to elicit an HCA-layer within 14 days. Both Ag+- and Zn2+-exchanged tobermorite phases were found to exhibit marked antimicrobial action against S. aureus and P. aeruginosa, two common pathogens in biomaterial-centred infections.

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