New synthesis, characterization and antibacterial properties of porous ZnO and C-ZnO micrometre-sized particles of narrow size distribution

Tamar Gordon, Moran Kopel, Judith Grinblat, Ehud Banin, Shlomo Margel

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23 Scopus citations


Zinc oxide has photocatalytic properties that make it both a physical UV blocker and an antibacterial agent, thereby contributing to the widespread commercial use of ZnO particles for various dermatological and cosmetic applications. This photocatalytic activity is surface-area dependent: it increases with increasing surface area of the ZnO particles. ZnO nanoparticles are characterized by a large surface area due to their small size. However, the use of ZnO nanoparticles has created health concerns for both consumers and governing bodies due to the risk of penetration of the small nanoparticles through the skin, thereby damaging inner organs. In this study, in order to overcome this safety risk, porous micrometre-sized ZnO and C-ZnO particles of narrow size distribution have been synthesized and characterized. These porous microparticles were prepared by entrapping a ZnO precursor in porous poly(divinylbenzene) template particles, followed by calcination at several temperatures in either an air or inert atmosphere. The effect of the calcination temperature and atmosphere on the particle size, morphology, crystallinity and fluorescence properties of the obtained microparticles has been investigated. The antibacterial activity of the ZnO and C-ZnO microparticles was tested against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. The antibacterial activity of the C-ZnO particles was significantly lower than that of the ZnO particles. In addition, the antibacterial activity increased as the surface area of the particles increased and was significantly higher against Staphylococcus aureus compared to Escherichia coli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3614-3623
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) within the HySA Programme (HySA Systems projects KP3-S02 and KP3-S03), and Impala Platinum Limited; South Africa. Investment from the industrial funder has been leveraged through the Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme, jointly managed by the South African National Research Foundation and the Department of Trade and Industry (NRF/DTI; THRIP Project TP1207254249).


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