A series of antibacterial hydrogels were fabricated from an aqueous solution of AgNO3, gelatin and carboxymethyl chitosan (CM-chitosan) by radiation-induced reduction and crosslinking at ambient temperature. The nanosilver particles were in situ synthesized accompanying with the formation of gelatin/CM-chitosan hydrogel. Transmission Electron Microscope and UV-vis analysis have verified the formation and homogeneous distribution of nanosilver particles in the hydrogel matrix. The nanosilver/gelatin/CM-chitosan hydrogels possessed interconnected porous structure, had a compressive modulus of 44 to 56kPa, and could absorb 62 to 108 times of deionized water to its dry weight. Furthermore, the hydrogels were found to have sound antibacterial effect on Escherichia coli (E. coli), and their antibacterial ability could be significantly enhanced by the increasing of AgNO3content. The comprehensive results of this study suggest that nanosilver/gelatin/CM-chitosan hydrogels have potential as an antibacterial wound dressing. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
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