Skip to main content

Photocatalytic Composite Nanomaterial and Engineering Solution for Inactivation of Airborne Bacteria


In this study we propose a new composite material with an enhanced bactericidal action that utilises the complex interactions with bacteria: mechanical interactions of the bacteria with ZnO tetrapod spikes, a photocatalytic process on ZnO nanoparticles, and disinfection by Ag nanoparticles. ZnO and Ag nanoparticles were immobilised on a single-crystalline ZnO tetrapod by the ultrasonic mixing method. The XRD, TEM, SEM and EDS analyses showed the tetrapod-like crystals covered by ZnO and Ag nanoparticles. This complex photocatalytic material, deposited on a grid support, was tested in the UV purifier air system in the AR Diagnostic company. The active microbial monitoring of the indoor air showed a decrease in the concentration of bacteria in the air of the meeting room, with the door open, at 90% for a duration of 30–40 min. A simple variant of the design of an air purifier system, which can be mounted in different types of air channels and compartments, is proposed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8


  1. 1.

    Weschler CJ (2006) Ozone’s impact on public health: contributions from indoor exposures to ozone and products of ozone-initiated chemistry. Environ Health Persp 114:1489–1496

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Shrimandilkar PP (2013) Indoor air quality monitoring for human health. Int J Mod Eng Res 3:891–897

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Andersen BM, Banrud H, Bøe E, Bjordal O, Drangsholt F (2006) Comparison of UV-C Light and chemicals for disinfection of surfaces in hospital isolation units. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 27:729–734

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Hay SO, Obee T, Luo Z, Jiang T, Meng Y, He J, Murphy SC, Suib S (2015) The viability of photocatalysis for air purification. Molecules 20:1319–1356

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Hodgson AT, Destaillats H, Sullivan DP, Fisk WJ (2007) Performance of ultraviolet photocatalytic oxidation for indoor air cleaning applications. Indoor Air 17:305–316

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Magalhгes P, Andrade L, Nunes OC, Mendes A (2017) A titanium dioxide photocatalysis: fundamentals and application on photoinactivation. Rev Adv Mater Sci 51:91–129

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Ochiaia T, Fujishim A (2012) A photoelectrochemical properties of TiO2 photocatalyst and its applications for environmental purification. J Photoch Photobio C 13:247–262

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Zhong L, Haghighat F (2015) Photocatalytic air cleaners and materials technologies – Abilities and limitations. Build Environ 91:191–203

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Hu C, Guo J, Qu J, Hu X (2007) Photocatalytic degradation of pathogenic bacteria with agi/tio2 under visible light irradiation. Langmuir 23:4982–4987

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Le TS, Dao TH, Nguyen DC, Nguyen HC, Balikhin IL (2015) Air purification equipment combining a filter coated by silver nanoparticles with a nano-TiO2 photocatalyst for use in hospitals. Adv Nat Sci: Nanosci Nanotechnol 6:015016

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Sambhy V, MacBride MM, Peterson BR (2006) Silver bromide nanoparticle/polymer composites: dual action tunable antimicrobial materials. J Am Chem Soc 128:9798–9808

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Mo J, Zhang Y, Xu Q, Lamson JJ, Zhao R (2009) Photocatalytic purification of volatile organic compounds in indoor air: a literature review. Atmos Environ 43:2229–2246

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Danilenko I, Gorban O, Maksimchuk P, Viagin O, Malyukin Y, Gorban S, Volkova G, Glasunova V, Mendez-Medrano M, Colbeau-Justin C, Konstantinova T, Lyubchyk S (2019) Photocatalytic activity of ZnO nanopowders: the role of production techniques in the formation of structural defects. Catal Today 328:99–104

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Mendez-Medrano MG, Katarzyna-Kowalska E, Lehoux A, Herissan A, Ohtani B, Uribe DB, Colbeau-Justin CLopez JLR, Remita H, Briois V (2016) Surface modification of TiO2 with Ag nanoparticles and CuO nanoclusters for application in photocatalysis. J Phys Chem C 120:5143–5154

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Balouiri M, Sadiki M, Ibnsouda SK (2016) Methods for in vitro evaluating antimicrobial activity: a review. J Pharm Anal 6:71–79

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Wei T, Willmarth WW (1989) Reynolds-number effects on the structure of a turbulent channel flow. J Fluid Mech 204:57–95

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Okajima A (1982) Strouhal numbers of rectangular cylinders. J Fluid Mech 123:379–398

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Adhikari S, Banerjee A, KrishnaRao Eswar N, Sarkara D, Madras G (2015) Photocatalytic inactivation of E. Coli by ZnO–Ag nanoparticles under solar radiation. RSC Adv 5:51067.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Podporska-Carroll J, Myles A, Quilty B, McCormack D, Fagan R (2017) Antibacterial properties of F-doped ZnO visible light photocatalyst. J Hazard Mater 324:39–47

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors are thankful the H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015 Programme, project N 690968 NANOGUARD2AR for support of this work. The authors are also thankful to A. Chauvin for colonies counting.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Igor Danilenko.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Danilenko, I., Gorban, O., da Costa Zaragoza de Oliveira Pedro, P.M. et al. Photocatalytic Composite Nanomaterial and Engineering Solution for Inactivation of Airborne Bacteria. Top Catal 64, 772–779 (2021).

Download citation


  • ZnO composite photocatalyst
  • Airborne bacteria
  • Air purification system