Nano-metal Oxides for Antibacterial Activity

  • Sankar Jagadeeshan
  • Rajesh ParsanathanEmail author
Part of the Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World book series (ECSW, volume 25)


Metal oxide nanoparticles (MeO-NPs) represent a field of material chemistry which attracts considerable interest due to the potential technological applications such as medicine, information technology, catalysis, energy storage and sensing and developing synthetic tailored nanostructures. Many nanomaterials can be used as metal oxides (Ag, Al, Ca, Ce, Cu, Mg, Ti, Yt, Zn). Certain MeO-NPs have strong antimicrobial properties, and its mechanism of actions involved in eliminating bacteria has been studied.

In this chapter we review the methods by which MeO-NPs are synthesized such as sonochemical, electrochemical, co-precipitation, solvothermal, sol-gel, microwave, wet chemical, microemulsion, laser ablation, chemical vapour-based, combustion and template/surface-mediated synthesis methods and biological mycosynthesis, as well as crucial factors (size, shape, roughness, zeta potential, doping modifications and environmental conditions) which affect the antibacterial mechanisms of MeO-NPs. The link between energy-efficient preparation of huge new variety of MeO-NP preparations and its final structural morphology can be exploited for use in a whole range of technologically important areas including efficient antimicrobial properties.

Previous studies have shown that the antimicrobial properties and the mechanism of action of different MeO-NPs that play a wide role as antimicrobial agents such as cell membrane damage by electrostatic interaction, metal/metal ion homeostasis disturbance, reactive oxygen species production, protein enzyme dysfunction, genotoxicity and signal transduction inhibition and photokilling are also reviewed in this chapter. Evidence suggests that in general some nanomaterials can be more toxic than their macro-scale counterparts and therefore caution is warranted on human health. Previous in vitro studies indicated that in comparison with a material’s larger (parent) counterpart, nanomaterials can move easily through cell membranes and can cause severe toxic effects on human health. We will also provide some examples of the features and applications of few known MeO-NPs (TiO2, Ag2O, ZnO, CuO, MgO, CaO, CeO2, Y2O3, Al2O3 and bimetallic oxide nanoparticles). Indeed, the application of MeO-NPs with the minimized toxicity possibly will be extensively used in the near future for eradicating several infectious conditions as alternative of traditional antibiotics to overcome antimicrobial resistance.


Antimicrobial Antibacterial activity Doping Metal oxide Nanomaterials Nano-metal oxides Reactive oxygen species Zeta potential 



The authors acknowledge Mr. William McLean for critical proofreading and excellent editing of this book chapter.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cell Biology DivisionMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Endocrinology, Dr. ALM PG IBMSUniversity of MadrasChennaiIndia
  3. 3.Present Address: Department of PediatricsLouisiana State University Health Science CentreShreveportUSA

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