Chitosan’s biological activity upon skin-related microorganisms and its potential textile applications

  • Eduardo M. Costa
  • Sara Silva
  • Mariana Veiga
  • Freni K. Tavaria
  • Maria M. Pintado


Over the years the body of work relating chitosan and its possible skin-related applications has grown, showing that chitosan is active both as a free compound and as a functional finishing of textiles. As a free molecule chitosan proved itself to be an attractive option as it is biocompatible and has a demonstrated biological activity (e.g. growth inhibition or adhesion inhibition) upon multiple skin pathogens, even upon multidrug resistant species. Furthermore, chitosan has wound healing accelerating properties, which make it a prime candidate for possible control of skin related infections. Almost inconspicuously, textiles have been one the main lines of defense of the skin against foreign threats, acting as a physical barrier to microbial colonization and infection. With the advent of textile functionalization specially designed textiles with enhanced protective characteristics, such as antimicrobial capacity, have come to the forefront. Chitosan functionalized textiles have been shown to be effective inhibitors of microbial growth with even invasive multidrug resistant species, as MRSA, being inhibited. Therefore, chitosan and chitosan functionalized textiles present themselves as both an interesting alternative to traditional antibiotics and as a possible means to enhance current treatment strategies.


Antimicrobial textiles Chitosan Skin pathogen Textile functionalization 



This work was supported by QREN-ANI through project 17819. We would also like to thank the scientific collaboration of CBQF under the FCT project UID/Multi/50016/2013. Additionally, the author E.M. Costa would like to acknowledge FCT and Aquitex S.A. for his Ph.D. Grant SFRH/BDE/103957/2014.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidade Católica Portuguesa, CBQF - Centro de Biotecnologia e Química Fina – Laboratório Associado, Escola Superior de BiotecnologiaPortoPortugal

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