Jan 14, 2010
Nanocomposite displays antibacterial and antifungal properties
A glass-nanoCu powder developed by scientists in Spain has been found to exhibit powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. The inorganic agent releases a low fraction of copper to the target medium, which means that it can function as a powerful green inorganic biocide agent with a low toxicity for humans. This opens the door to a wide range of biocide applications.
Researchers at the ICMM-CSIC and CNB-CSIC have developed a new bottom-up route to fabricate a soda-lime glass powder containing monodispersed copper nanoparticles. The process starts with the embedding of copper nanoparticles into sepiolite fibres produced by the research and development department of TOLSA S.A.
Seek and destroy
The bactericidal action of n-Cu glass powder proceeds firstly by the direct adsorption of copper nanoparticles present at the surface of the glass particles on to the bacteria. Next, in a second step, copper penetrates the cytoplasm causing damage and the subsequent death of bacterial cells as observed in the TEM micrographs of E. coli (see image above).
The researchers presented their work in Nanotechnology.
About the author
Leticia Esteban-Tejeda is a PhD student at ICMM in the Biomaterials Department. She has a Masters in Chemistry Engineering. Dr Francisco Malpartida is a biologist and head of the Molecular Genetics of Streptomyces group at CNB-CSIC. Dr Antonio Esteban-Cubillo is leader of the R&D Department of the company TOLSA, S.A. Dr Carlos Pecharroman is a physicist and specializes in optical properties of nanomaterials from ICMM-CSIC and Prof. José S Moya is head of the group and a materials scientist from the ICMM-CSIC.