Enhanced inactivation of bacteria by metal-oxide nanoparticles combined with visible light irradiation

Anat Lipovsky, Aharon Gedanken, Yeshayahu Nitzan, Rachel Lubart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background: In recent years nano-metaloxides which easily penetrate into the cells with special interest due to their higher chemical reactivity as compared to that of similar materials in the bulk form. Of particular interest are nano-TiO2 and ZnO, which have been widely used for their bactericidal and anticancerous properties. Purpose: The aim of the present study was to examine the bactericidal properties of nano-TiO2 and ZnO combined with visible light on S. aureus and S. epidermitis, known for their high prevalence in infected wounds. Study: Using the technique of electron-spin resonance (ESR) coupled with spin trapping, we examined the ability of TiO 2 and ZnO nanoparticle suspensions in water to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) withand without visible light irradiation. The possibility of exciting these nanoparticles with visible light in order to enhance their antimicrobial activity was also tested. Results: Electron-spin resonance measurements revealed that ZnO and TiO2 nanoparticles are able to produce ROS in water suspension. A remarkable enhancement of ROS production was found following illumination with blue light. In addition, illumination significantly enhanced the antibacterial activity of the nanoparticles. Conclusion: The results suggest that nanoparticles combined with visible light can be used for sterilization purposes and may be effective for treating infected wounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-240
Number of pages5
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Bacteria
  • Nanoparticles
  • TiO
  • Visible light
  • ZnO


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