Polymers (Basel). 2022 Oct 18;14(20):4399. doi: 10.3390/polym14204399.
Infectious microbial diseases are a major public health hazard, calling for more innovative antimicrobials. Herein, polylactic acid (PLA) oligomers have been explored and reported as a bio-safe and eco-friendly functional antimicrobial agent against pathogens, such as viruses (H1N1, H3N2, and SARS-CoV-2), bacteria (E. coli, S. aureus, K. pneumoniae, MRSA), and fungi (C. albicans). The PLA oligomers were prepared by direct catalyst-free condensation polymerization of l-lactic acid monomers and characterized by FT-IR and 1H-NMR. The antiviral results demonstrate that PLA oligomers possess robust (inhibiting rate > 99%) and rapid (<20 min) antiviral activity against two pandemic ssRNA viruses, including influenza A virus (IAV) and coronavirus (CoV). Furthermore, the PLA oligomers exhibit high antibacterial activities against both Gram negative (G-) and Gram positive (G+) bacteria. The PLA oligomers also perform efficiently in killing a large amount of C. albicans as high as 105 cfu/mL down to zero at the concentration of 10 mg/mL. Thus, the broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity endowed the PLA oligomers with a promising biocidal option, except antibiotics in a wide range of applications, such as medical textiles, food preservation, water disinfection, and personal hygiene, in light of their unique biodegradability and biocompatibility.