Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 479–489

Investigation into the antibacterial behaviour of suspensions of ZnO nanoparticles (ZnO nanofluids)


  • Lingling Zhang
    • Institute of Particle Science & EngineeringUniversity of Leeds
  • Yunhong Jiang
    • Institute of Particle Science & EngineeringUniversity of Leeds
    • Institute of Particle Science & EngineeringUniversity of Leeds
  • Malcolm Povey
    • Procter Department of Food ScienceUniversity of Leeds
  • David York
    • Procter and Gamble Newcastle Technical Centre

DOI: 10.1007/s11051-006-9150-1

Cite this article as:
Zhang, L., Jiang, Y., Ding, Y. et al. J Nanopart Res (2007) 9: 479. doi:10.1007/s11051-006-9150-1


The antibacterial behaviour of suspensions of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO nanofluids) against E. Coli has been investigated. ZnO nanoparticles from two sources are used to formulate nanofluids. The effects of particle size, concentration and the use of dispersants on the antibacterial behaviour are examined. The results show that the ZnO nanofluids have bacteriostatic activity against E. coli. The antibacterial activity increases with increasing nanoparticle concentration and increases with decreasing particle size. Particle concentration is observed to be more important than particle size under the conditions of this work. The results also show that the use of two types of dispersants (Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) and Polyvinylpyrolidone (PVP)) does not affect much the antibacterial activity of ZnO nanofluids but enhances the stability of the suspensions. SEM analyses of the bacteria before and after treatment with ZnO nanofluids show that the presence of ZnO nanoparticles damages the membrane wall of the bacteria. Electrochemical measurements using a model DOPC monolayer suggest some direct interaction between ZnO nanoparticles and the bacteria membrane at high ZnO concentrations.


antibacterial activityzinc oxide nanoparticlesnanofluidsmechanismsE. colinanoengineering
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© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006