Coatings consisting in gentamicin-containing nanocapsules have been synthetized by means of an aerosol-assisted atmospheric pressure plasma deposition process. The influence of different parameters affecting the process has been extensively investigated by means of a morphological and chemical characterization of the coatings. Scanning electron microscopy highlighted the presence of nanocapsules whose size and abundance depend on power input and deposition time. A detailed analysis carried out with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry allowed to detect and identify the presence of gentamicin embedded in the coatings and its rearrangement, as a result of the interaction with the plasma. The release of gentamicin in water has been monitored by means of UV-vis fluorescence spectroscopy, and its biological activity has been evaluated as well by the disk diffusion assay against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It is confirmed that the antibacterial activity of gentamicin is preserved in the plasma-deposited coatings. Preliminary cytocompatibility investigations indicated that eukaryotic cells well tolerate the release of gentamicin from the coatings.
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