Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) embedded double network (DN) nanocomposite hydrogels [of P(AM-co-HEMA) as second network and PVA-Borax as first network] were synthesized by in-situ reduction of silver nitrate using citric acid in presence of the fully swollen high strength DN hydrogels. The AgNPs embedded DN nanocomposites hydrogels (Ag-DNG) were characterized by FTIR, XRD and TEM analyses. Such Ag-DNG hydrogels were studied for their degree of swelling and swelling kinetics. They were also evaluated for their anti-bacterial characteristics using a Gram negative (Escherichia coli) and a Gram positive (Bacillus subtilis) bacteria. The XRD analysis revealed the presence of AgNPs in the DN nanocomposite hydrogels. The AgNPs were observed to be 20-50 nm in diameter as observed by TEM analysis. The degree of swelling of Ag-DNG hydrogels was lower than that of the virgin DN hydrogel which was because of the space of pores of the DN hydrogels occupied by AgNPs. The virgin DN hydrogels did not exhibit any antimicrobial property, whereas Ag-DNG hydrogels exhibited a significant amount of antibacterial activity towards gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Such AgNPs incorporated high strength DN nanocomposite hydrogels may find potential biomedical application.

Graphical Abstract

Synthesis of AgNPs embedded double network nanocomposite hydrogels having high swelling and anti-bacterial characteristics