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Antimicrobial activity of metal oxide nanoparticles against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria: a comparative study

Authors Azam A, Ahmed AS, Oves M, Khan MS, Habib SS, Memic A

Received 25 June 2012

Accepted for publication 21 September 2012

Published 5 December 2012 Volume 2012:7 Pages 6003—6009

DOI https://dx.doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S35347

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Ameer Azam,1,2 Arham S Ahmed,2 Mohammad Oves,3 Mohammad S Khan,3 Sami S Habib,1 Adnan Memic1

1Centre of Nanotechnology, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; 2Centre of Excellence in Materials Science (Nanomaterials), 3Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India

Background: Nanomaterials have unique properties compared to their bulk counterparts. For this reason, nanotechnology has attracted a great deal of attention from the scientific community. Metal oxide nanomaterials like ZnO and CuO have been used industrially for several purposes, including cosmetics, paints, plastics, and textiles. A common feature that these nanoparticles exhibit is their antimicrobial behavior against pathogenic bacteria. In this report, we demonstrate the antimicrobial activity of ZnO, CuO, and Fe2O3 nanoparticles against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.
Methods and results: Nanosized particles of three metal oxides (ZnO, CuO, and Fe2O3) were synthesized by a sol–gel combustion route and characterized by X-ray diffraction, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy techniques. X-ray diffraction results confirmed the single-phase formation of all three nanomaterials. The particle sizes were observed to be 18, 22, and 28 nm for ZnO, CuO, and Fe2O3, respectively. We used these nanomaterials to evaluate their antibacterial activity against both Gram-negative (Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis) bacteria.
Conclusion: Among the three metal oxide nanomaterials, ZnO showed greatest antimicrobial activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria used in this study. It was observed that ZnO nanoparticles have excellent bactericidal potential, while Fe2O3 nanoparticles exhibited the least bactericidal activity. The order of antibacterial activity was demonstrated to be the following: ZnO > CuO > Fe2O3.

Keywords: nanomaterial, ZnO, CuO, Fe2O3, antibacterial activity, metal oxides

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