Mechanistic study of synergistic antimicrobial effects between poly (3-hydroxybutyrate) oligomer and polyethylene glycol

Ziheng Zhang, Jun Li, Linlin Ma, Xingxing Yang, Bin Fei, Polly H.M. Leung, Xiaoming Tao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Extended from our previous finding that poly (3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) oligomer is an effective antimicrobial agent against gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, fungi and multi-drug resistant bacteria, this work investigates the effect of polyethylene glycol (PEG) on the antimicrobial effect of PHB oligomer. To investigate and explain this promoting phenomenon, three hypothetic mechanisms were proposed, that is, generation of new antimicrobial components, degradation of PHB macromolecules and dissolution/dispersion of PHB oligomer by PEG. With a series of systematic experiments and characterizations of high-performance liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS), it was deducted that PEG promotes the antimicrobial effect of PHB oligomer synergistically through dissolution/dispersion, owing to its amphipathy, which improves the hydrophilicity of PHB oligomer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2735
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Antimicrobial agent
  • Oligomer
  • Poly (3-hydroxybutyric acid)
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Synergistic antimicrobial effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics

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