Synthesis of Ag@CuO nanohybrids and their photo-enhanced bactericidal effect through concerted Ag ion release and reactive oxygen species generation†
Ag and CuO in the form of nanoparticles have been widely used in our daily life as antibacterial agents, through releasing Ag ions and generating reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this work, we demonstrate that by synthesizing Ag@CuO nanohybrids with core–shell configurations, their bactericidal activity can be synergistically enhanced compared to the respective constituents. Upon AM 1.5G light illumination for short durations, the measured minimum inhibitory concentrations of the Ag@CuO nanohybrids show a significant decrease against both Gram-negative Escherichia coli and Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus bacterial strains, requiring only 7% and 34% of those when conducted in the dark. The spread plate results demonstrate that with nanohybrid concentrations of 11.0 and 21.9 mg L−1, at least 7 orders of magnitude decrease in Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus colony forming units is achieved, when the Ag@CuO nanohybrids are exposed to light illumination for 10 min. The effect of illumination is found to induce Ag+ release and enhance 1O2 generation, which act concertedly to facilitate the remarkable photo-enhanced bactericidal effect.