Polymer Bulletin

, Volume 55, Issue 1–2, pp 105–113

Chitosan- metal complexes as antimicrobial agent: Synthesis, characterization and Structure-activity study

  • Xiaohui Wang
  • Yumin Du
  • Lihong Fan
  • Hui Liu
  • Ying Hu


Chitosan (CS) metal complexes with bivalent metal ions, including Cu(II), Zn(II), Fe(II) were prepared, and characterized by FT-IR, XRD, AAS and elemental analysis. The crystalline and structural properties of chitosan-metal complexes were different from those of chitosan, and the -NH2, -OH groups in chitosan molecule were considered as the dominating reactive sites. In vitro antimicrobial activities of the obtained chitosan-metal complexes, which were found to be much better than free chitosan and metal salts, were examined against two gram-positive bacteria (S. aureus and S. epidermidis), two gram-negative bacteria (E. coli and P. aeruginosa) and two fungi (C. albicans and C. parapsilosis). Results indicatd that the inhibitory effects of chitosan-metal complexes were dependent on the property of metal ions, the molecular weight and degree of deacetylation of chitosan and environmental pH values. Electro microscopy confirmed that the exposure of S. auresus to the chitosan-Cu(II) complex resulted in the disruption of cell envelop. Based on the discussion upon the antimicrobial mechanism of chitosan-metal complexes and their molecular structures, the structure-activity correlation for the antimicrobial activities was elucidated. All the results show that chitosan-metal complexes are a promising candidate for novel antimicrobial agents that can be used in cosmetic, food, textile et al.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Roberts GAF (1992) Chitin chemistry. Macmillian Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brine CJ, Sandford PA, Zikakis JP (1992) Advanced chitin and chitosan. Elsevier, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Huang R, Du Y, Yang J (2003) Carbohydr Polym 51:431Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Qin C, Du Y, Xiao L, Li Z, Gao X (2002) Int J Biol Macromol 31:111Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Qin C, Zhou B, Zeng L, Zhang Z, Liu Y, Du Y, Xiao L (2004) Food Chem 84:107Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kobayashi M, Natanabe T, Suzuki S, Suzuki M (1990) Microbiol Immuno 34:413Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Liu H, Du Y, Wang X, Sun L (2004) Int J Food Microbiol 95:417Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Liu H, Du Y, Wang X, Hu Y, Kennedy JF (2004) Carbohydr Polym 56:243Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Jeon YJ, Kim SK (2000) Carbohydr Polym 41:133Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Roller S, Covill N (1999) Inter J Food Microbiol 47:67Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Entsar IR, Moham ETB, Christian VS, Gay S, Walter S (2003) Biomacromolecules 4:1457Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Chun HK, Jang WC, Heung JC, Kyu SC (1994) Polym Bull 38:387Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Chen L, Du Y, Liu Y (2000) J Wuhan Univ 46:191Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Huang R, Du Y, Zhang L, Liu H, Fan L (2004) React Funct Polym 59:41Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Qin C, Du Y, Xiao L, Liu Y, Yu H, (2002) J Appl Polym Sci 86:1724Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wang X, Du Y, Liu H (2004) Carbohydr Polym 56:21Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Liu H, Du Y, Wang X (2004) Carbohydr Polym 55:291Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Odunola OA (1993) Synth React Inorg Met-Org Chem 23:1241Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Zheng H, Du Y, Yu J, Xiao L (2000) J Wuhan Univ 46:685Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Qin C, Du Y, Xiao L (2002) Polym Degrad Stabil 76:211Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Speciale A, Musumeci R, Blandino MG, Caccamo IF, Nicoletti G (2002) Int J Antimicrob Ag 19:111Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Muzzarelli RAA, Ferrero A, Pizzoli M (1972) Talanta 19:1222Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Wang AQ, Li HQ, Yu XD (1999) Chinese Appl Chem 19:77Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Tang LG, Hon DNS (2001) J Appl Polym Sci 79:1476Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Yang J, Du Y, Qin C (2003) Chinese J Anal Sci 19:282Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Jin DM, Zhu WX (1996) Bio-inorganic chemistry, Chinese Science Publisher, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Muzarelli RAA (1996) Carbohy Polym 29:309Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Fred B, Ralph GP (1967) Mechanisms of inorganic reactions, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    No HK, Park NY, Lee SH, Meyers SP (2002) Inter J Food Microb 74:65Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Liu XF, Guan YL, Yang DZ, Li Z, Yao KD (2000) J Appl Polym Sci 79:1324Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaohui Wang
    • 1
  • Yumin Du
    • 1
  • Lihong Fan
    • 1
  • Hui Liu
    • 1
  • Ying Hu
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Resource and Environmental ScienceWuhan UniversityWuhanChina

Personalised recommendations