University of Limerick
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Needleless electrospun phytochemicals encapsulated nanofibre based 3-ply biodegradable mask for combating COVID-19 pandemic

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-08-25, 13:21 authored by Nikhil Avinash Patil, Prakash Macchindra Gore, Niranjana Jaya Prakash, Premika Govindaraj, Ramdayal Yadav, Vivek Verma, Dhivya Shanmugarajan, Shivanand Patil, Abhay Kore, Balasubramanian Kandasubramanian
The emergence of COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected human health and world economies. According to WHO guidelines, continuous use of face mask is mandatory for personal protection for restricting the spread of bacteria and virus. Here, we report a 3-ply cotton-PLA-cotton layered biodegradable face-mask containing encapsulated phytochemicals in the inner-filtration layer. The nano-fibrous PLA filtration layer was fabricated using needleless electrospinning of PLA & phytochemical-based herba extracts. This 3-layred face mask exhibits enhanced air permeability with a differential pressure of 35.78 Pa/cm2 and superior bacterial filtration efficiency of 97.9% compared to conventional face masks. Close-packed mesh structure of the nano-fibrous mat results in effective adsorption of particulate matter, aerosol particles, and bacterial targets deep inside the filtration layer. The outer hydrophobic layer of mask exhibited effective blood splash resistance up to a distance of 30 cm, ensuring its utilization for medical practices. Computational analysis of constituent phytochemicals using the LibDock algorithm predicted inhibitory activity of chemicals against the protein structured bacterial sites. The computational analysis projected superior performance of phytochemicals considering the presence of stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, and Arachidic acid exhibiting structural complementarity to inhibit targeted bacterial interface. Natural cotton fibers and PLA bio-polymer demonstrated promising biodegradable characteristics in the presence of in-house cow-dung based biodegradation slurry. Addition of jaggery to the slurry elevated the biodegradation performance, resulting in increment of change of weight from 07% to 12%. The improved performance was attributed to the increased sucrose content in biodegradation slurry, elevating the bacterial growth in the slurry. An innovative face mask has shown promising results for utilization in day-to-day life and medical frontline workers, considering the post-pandemic environmental impacts.



Chemical Engineering Journal;416, 129152





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