Imidazolium poly(butylene terephthalate) ionomers with ionic groups located randomly along the polymer chain or selectively as end-groups (telechelic) have been prepared in order to determine their antimicrobial (AM) activity. Two different approaches have been followed for the linkage of the imidazolium to the polymer backbone: a covalent bond and an ionic aggregation to sulfonated groups covalently bonded to the polymer. The ionic groups have been linked to the polymer in order to improve the long-term AM activity since the low molecular weight additives commonly used tends to migrate toward the surface during use. We have found that imidazolium ionomers present AM activity comparable with that of commercial antimicrobial agents such as Triclosan. The AM activity depends on the polymer architecture, the telechelic approach being more active compared to the random approach. We have proved that imidazolium ionomers retain their high AM activity even after 6 days in water at 60 °C while Triclosan consistently loses his activity. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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