Colloid and Polymer Science

, Volume 296, Issue 5, pp 951–960 | Cite as

Triclosan nanoparticles via emulsion-freeze-drying for enhanced antimicrobial activity

  • Ulrike Wais
  • Margarete M. Nawrath
  • Alexander W. Jackson
  • Haifei Zhang
Original Contribution


Low water solubility and poor bioavailability of hydrophobic pharmaceuticals are significant problems in drug formulation. This research presents a bottom-up route to prepare nanoparticles of hydrophobic actives which is synthetically straightforward, robust, and can be applied to a range of active molecules. A series of amphiphilic branched diblock copolymers have been prepared via the conventional radical polymerization of a vinyl monomer (styrene, butylmethacrylate, or N-isopropylacrylamide) and a corresponding divinyl cross-linker facilitated by a poly(ethylene glycol)-based macro-initiator. These materials were employed as stabilizers in the emulsion-freeze-drying methodology to prepare nanoparticles of hydrophobic pharmaceuticals. It is demonstrated that these branched diblock copolymers are able to facilitate the formation of Triclosan nanoparticles which display enhanced antimicrobial activity against Candida albicans, when compared to non-processed (used as received) Triclosan. This process requires significantly lower levels of stabilizer compared to previously reported surfactant/polymer systems after optimization of polymer properties and morphology.


Emulsion-freeze-drying Branched diblock copolymers Bottom-up Nanomedicine Antimicrobial 



Ulrike Wais acknowledges the joint PhD studentship between the University of Liverpool and the A*Star Research Attachment Program (ARAP) scholarship. The authors would like to thank Wendy Rusli (of A* Star, Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences) for performing cryo-TEM analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

396_2018_4312_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.6 mb)
ESM 1 1H NMR spectra, and additional optical microscopy and SEM image (DOCX 1640 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Institute of Chemical and Engineering ScienceJurong IslandSingapore
  3. 3.Institute of BiochemistryUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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