Photocatalytic inactivation of E. Coli by ZnO–Ag nanoparticles under solar radiation
Porous and fluffy ZnO photocatalysts were successfully prepared via simple solution based combustion synthesis method. The photocatalytic inactivation of Escherichia coli bacteria was studied separately for both Ag substituted and impregnated ZnO under irradiation of natural solar light. A better understanding of substitution and impregnation of Ag was obtained by Raman spectrum and X-ray photoelectron analysis. The reaction parameters such as catalyst dose, initial bacterial concentration and effect of hydroxyl radicals via H2O2 addition were also studied for ZnO catalyst. Effective inactivation was observed with 0.25 g L−1 catalyst loading having 109 CFU mL−1 bacterial concentration. With an increase in molarity of H2O2, photocatalytic inactivation was enhanced. The effects of different catalysts were studied, and highest bacterial killing was observed by Ag impregnated ZnO with 1 atom% Ag compared to Ag substituted ZnO. This enhanced activity can be attributed to effective charge separation that is supported by photoluminescence studies. The kinetics of reaction in the presence of different scavengers showed that reaction is significantly influenced by the presence of hole and hydroxyl radical scavenger with high efficiency.