Chinese researchers have produced multifunctional self-healing hydrogel coatings based on a dynamic disulfide exchange reaction. They were developed via surface-initiated thiolene photopolymerisation. The functional monomers (poly(ethylene glycol)methyl ether methacrylate (PEGMA), N-hydroxyethyl acrylamide (HEAA) and 2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl trimethylammonium chloride (META)) and a disulfide-containing crosslinker bis(2-methacryloyl)oxyethyl disulfide (BMOD) were employed for the preparation of antifouling, antibacterial and self-healing hydrogel coatings. The discovery is reported in Polymer Chemistry, issue 39. The hydrogel coatings reduced protein adsorption, as well as bacterial adhesion from Gram-negative Escherichia coli (E. coli). Moreover, the coatings exhibited good self-healing ability at moderate temperatures due to the dynamic disulfide exchange reaction. Introduction of self-healing ability, the report says, provides a promising means for self-repairing of microcracks of functional polymer coatings and improving their stability and durability in the long-term applications as biomaterials. Five of the six researchers work in China, at the Nanjing University of Posts & Telecommunications and Jiangsu National Synergistic Innovation Center for Advanced Materials, and one at the National University of Singapore. http://pubs.rsc.org/en