V. Thomas et al. / Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 315 (2007) 389–395
HG1, was also prepared by employing the same conditions andcomposition, without AAc.
2.3. Synthesis of hydrogel–Ag nanoparticle composites
The hydrogel disk was equilibrated in the distilled waterfor 24 h followed by its immersion in solution of silver ni-trate (10 mg AgNO
in 30 ml distilled water) for another 24 h.Then the disk was taken out and put in trisodium citrate solu-tion (20 mg dissolved in 30 ml water) for another 24 h to reduceAg
ions into silver nanoparticles within the swollen gel. Thedark brown-cum-black color of the disk indicated formation of silver nanoparticles. The disk was dried in an electric oven,grinded, and ﬁnally sieved with mesh size No. 350 to yield ﬁnehydrogel–Ag nanoparticle composites.
The Fourier transformation infrared (FTIR) spectra of plainand silver nanoparticle-loaded hydrogel samples were recordedon a FTIR spectrophotometer (Shimadzu 8400 S) using KBr.Absorption measurements were carried out on a Systron-ics 2201 UV–visible spectrophotometer for well-dispersedhydrogel–silver nanocomposite solutions (1 mg
1 ml) in thewavelength range 400–800 nm. XRD analyses for hydrogel–silver nanocomposites were performed with a Rikagu diffrac-tometer (Cu radiation,
1546 nm) running at 40 kV and40 mA. The nanocomposite structural and morphological vari-ations were observed by using a JOEL JSM 840A (Japan)scanning electron microscope (SEM). Scanning electron mi-croscope specimens were prepared by placing 2–3 drops of thehydrogel–silver nanocomposite solution on a silicon wafer anddried in air. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imagesof the samples were recorded using a Tecnai F 12 TEM instru-ment. TEM samples were prepared by dispersing 2–3 drops of gel–silver nanoparticle solution on a copper grid and dried atroom temperature after removal of excess solution using a ﬁlterpaper.
2.5. Microbial experimentation
Microbial experimentation was done to ﬁnd the effect of sil-ver hydrogel particles on gram-negative bacteria
. Forthis purpose approximately 10
colony-forming units (CFU) of
were cultured on a Nutrient agar plate supplementedwith silver hydrogel particles. Plates, free of silver hydrogelparticles, were used as a control set. The plates were incubatedfor 24 h at 37
C and the numbers of colonies were counted.
3. Results and discussion
3.1. Fabrication of hydrogel–Ag nanoparticles
During the past two decades, a number of different ap-proaches have been employed to obtain better stabilization of nanoparticles using various polymers, block copolymers, star
Fig. 1. Formation of silver nanoparticles within the swollen
polymers and dendrimers, microgels, hydrogels, and so on. Re-cently, as noted in the Introduction, there is a lot of interestin producing nanoparticles in the hydrogel networks since theyhave enormous valuable applications in bio-related ﬁelds. But,most of the hydrogels and microgels employed for this pur-pose must follow either controlled polymerization paths or havewell-organized networks through the gel structure, which mayincrease the cost of the nanoparticle–hydrogel hybrid materi-als. In contrast, we have developed a facile in situ approach of nanoparticle synthesis using a conventional hydrogel. The em-ployed hydrogel networks in this study are random copolymersof acrylamide and acrylic acid repeating units throughout thegel macromolecular chains that are constructed with variouscrosslinking junctions. This macromolecular gel network willserve effectively as nanoreactors for silver nanoparticle prepa-ration.Fig. 1depicts a clear scheme for the formation of silvernanoparticles within the swollen co-polymeric network. Whena fully swollen hydrogeldisk is put in the aqueous AgNO
solu-tion, there occurs an ion exchange between Ag
ions present inthe outer solution and H
ions present within the gel phase. Af-ter equilibrium is attained, the hydrogel disk is transferred intotrisodium citrate solution. This results in a reduction of Ag