Curcumin loaded zinc oxide nanoparticles for activity-enhanced antibacterial and anticancer applications†
Zinc oxide nanoparticles and curcumin have been shown to be excellent antimicrobial agents and promising anticancer agents, both on their own as well as in combination. Together, they have potential as alternatives/supplements to antibiotics and traditional anticancer drugs. In this study, different morphologies of zinc oxide-grafted curcumin nanocomposites (ZNP–Cs) were synthesized and characterized using SEM, TGA, FTIR, XRD and UV-vis spectrophotometry. Antimicrobial assays were conducted against both Gram negative and Gram-positive bacterial stains. Spherical ZnO–curcumin nanoparticles (SZNP–Cs) and rod-shaped ZnO–curcumin nanoparticles showed the most promising activity against tested bacterial strains. The inhibition zones for these curcumin-loaded ZnO nanocomposites were consistently larger than their bare counterparts or pure curcumin, revealing an additve effect between the ZnO and curcumin components. The potential anticancer activity of the synthesized nanocomposites was studied on the rhabdomyosarcoma RD cell line via MTT assay, while their cytotoxic effects were tested against human embryonic kidney cells using the resazurin assay. SZNP–Cs exhibited the best balance between the two, showing the lowest toxicity against healthy cells and good anticancer activity. The results of this investigation demonstrate that the nanomatrix synthesized can act as an effective, additively-enhanced combination delivery/therapeutic agent, holding promise for anticancer therapy and other biomedical applications.