Titania nanofibers in gypsum composites: an antibacterial and cytotoxicology study†
Further developments of antibacterial coatings based on photocatalytic nanomaterials could be a promising route towards potential environmentally friendly applications in households, public buildings and health care facilities. Hereby we describe a simple chemical approach to synthesize photocatalytic nanomaterial-embedded coatings using gypsum as a binder. Various types of TiO2 nanofiber-based photocatalytic materials (nitrogen-doped and/or palladium nanoparticle decorated) and their composites with gypsum were characterized by means of scanning (SEM) and transmission (TEM) electron microscopy as well as electron and X-ray diffraction (XRD) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) techniques. These gypsum-based composites can be directly applied as commercially available paints on indoor walls. Herein we report that surfaces coated with photocatalytic composites exhibit excellent antimicrobial properties by killing both methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) under blue light. In the case of MSSA cells, the palladium nanoparticle-decorated and nitrogen-doped TiO2 composites demonstrated the highest antimicrobial activity. For the MRSA strain even pure gypsum samples were proven to be efficient in eradicating Gram-positive human pathogens. The cytotoxicity of freestanding TiO2 nanofibers was revealed by analyzing the viability of HeLa cells using MTT and fluorescent cell assays.