Biocomposites of silk-elastin and essential oil from mentha piperita display antibacterial activity

Diana S. Gomes, André da Costa, Ana Margarida Pereira, Margarida Casal, Raul Machado*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, novel antimicrobial biocomposite films comprising a genetically engineered silk-elastin protein polymer (SELP) and essential oil from Mentha piperita (MPEO) have been fabricated and tested for the antibacterial performance. SELP/MPEO biocomposite films were prepared by solvent casting using water as the solvent and aqueous emulsions of MPEO at different concentrations. Emulsions of MPEO were investigated, showing that the mixing method, relative amount of surfactant, and the presence of SELP influence particle size and homogeneity. The aqueous emulsions of SELP/MPEO were characterized by a population of particles between 100 and 300 nm, depending on the MPEO concentration. The emulsified oil droplets at the highest concentration showed to be homogeneously distributed into the SELP matrix and demonstrated antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Staphylococcus aureus. Moreover, the antibacterial activity of the biocomposite films was retained after a period of storage for 7 days at 4 °C. The formulation of composites comprising natural active fillers and recombinant protein polymers opens opportunities to develop new green, functional biocomposite materials, paving the way for a new generation of multifunctional materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6568-6578
Number of pages11
JournalACS Omega
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


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