This study attempted to develop chitosan-based nanoparticles with increased stability and antibacterial activity. The chitosan/protamine hybrid nanoparticles were formed based on an ionic gelation method by mixing chitosan with protamine and subsequently cross-linking the mixtures with sodium tripolyphosphate (TPP). The effects of protamine on the chemical structures, physical properties, and antibacterial activities of the hybrid nanoparticles were investigated. The antibacterial experiments demonstrated that the addition of protamine (125 µg/mL) in the hybrid nanoparticles (500 µg/mL chitosan and 166.67 µg/mL TPP) improved the antimicrobial specificity with the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) value of 31.25 µg/mL towards Escherichia coli (E. coli), while the MIC value was higher than 250 µg/mL towards Bacillus cereus. The chitosan/protamine hybrid nanoparticles induced the formation of biofilm-like structure in B. cereus and non-motile-like structure in E. coli. The detection of bacterial cell ruptures showed that the inclusion of protamine in the hybrid nanoparticles caused different membrane permeability compared to chitosan nanoparticles and chitosan alone. The chitosan/protamine nanoparticles also exhibited lower binding affinity towards B. cereus than E. coli. The results suggested that the hybridization of chitosan with protamine improved the antibacterial activity of chitosan nanoparticles towards pathogenic E. coli, but the inhibitory effect against probiotic B. cereus was significantly reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Article number88
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 5 2018


  • Antimicrobial activity
  • Biofilm
  • Chitosan
  • Nanoparticle
  • Protamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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