Research Highlight

Glow nanohybrid kills bacteria

doi:10.1038/nindia.2012.29 Published online 27 February 2012

Researchers have synthesized a new biocompatible nanohybrid that exhibits both fluorescence and antibacterial properties. The nanohybrid, which was made by smearing fluorescent carbon nanoparticles onto nanorods of zinc oxide, could be useful in bioimaging and for warding off bacterial infection.

To find a suitable nanohybrid that exhibits both fluorescence and antibacterial properties, the researchers prepared fluorescent carbon nanoparticles (CNPs) from sucrose in the presence of phosphoric acid. They separately synthesized nanorods of ZnO and modified these nanorods with aminopropyltriethoxysilane. They then grafted CNP onto the modified ZnO nanorods to yield CNP-grafted ZnO nanorods (ZCNPs).

The researchers exposed the ZCNPs to normal and ultraviolet light in the presence of Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. The ZCNPs emitted green light when exposed to ultraviolet light and showed appreciable antibacterial effects against both S. aureus and E. coli. The ZCNPs inhibited the growth of bacteria by generating reactive oxygen species, which damaged bacterial cell membranes.

The fluorescent nanohybrid was introduced to S. aureus cells by incubation under a fluorescent microscope. The researchers say that the emission of bright green light under ultraviolet illumination highlights its value as a biomarker.

The authors of this work are from: Nanomaterials Laboratory, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and AERU, Biological Sciences Division, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.


  1. Mitra, S. et al. Unique chemical grafting of carbon nanoparticle on fabricated ZnO nanorod: antibacterial and bioimaging property. Mater. Res. Bull. 47, 586-594 (2012) | Article |