Photo-enhanced antibacterial activity of ZnO/graphene quantum dot nanocomposites†
Synthesis of new, highly active antibacterial agents has become increasingly important in light of emerging antibiotic resistance. In the present study, ZnO/graphene quantum dot (GQD) nanocomposites were produced by a facile hydrothermal method and characterized by an array of microscopic and spectroscopic measurements, including transmission electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, UV-vis and photoluminescence spectroscopy. Antibacterial activity of the ZnO/GQD nanocomposites was evaluated with Escherichia coli within the context of minimum inhibitory concentration and the reduction of the number of bacterial colonies in a standard plate count method, in comparison to those with ZnO and GQD separately. It was found that the activity was markedly enhanced under UV photoirradiation as compared to that in ambient light. This was ascribed to the enhanced generation of reactive oxygen species under UV photoirradiation, with minor contributions from membrane damage, as manifested in electron paramagnetic resonance and fluorescence microscopic measurements. The results highlight the significance of functional nanocomposites based on semiconductor nanoparticles and graphene derivatives in the development of effective bactericidal agents.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanoscale 10th Anniversary: Top Authors