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Hybrid Plasmonic Photoreactors as Visible Light-Mediated Bactericides

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journal contribution
posted on 18.12.2019 by Xingda An, Nathchar Naowarojna, Pinghua Liu, Björn M. Reinhard
Photocatalytic compounds and complexes, such as tris­(bipyridine)­ruthenium­(II), [Ru­(bpy)3]2+, have recently attracted attention as light-mediated bactericides that can help to address the need for new antibacterial strategies. We demonstrate in this work that the bactericidal efficacy of [Ru­(bpy)3]2+ and the control of its antibacterial function can be significantly enhanced through combination with a plasmonic nanoantenna. We report strong, visible light-controlled bacterial inactivation with a nanocomposite design that incorporates [Ru­(bpy)3]2+ as a photocatalyst and a Ag nanoparticle (NP) core as a light-concentrating nanoantenna into a plasmonic hybrid photoreactor. The hybrid photoreactor platform is facilitated by a self-assembled lipid membrane that encapsulates the Ag NP and binds the photocatalyst. The lipid membrane renders the nanocomposite biocompatible in the absence of resonant illumination. Upon illumination, the plasmon-enhanced photoexcitation of the metal-to-ligand charge-transfer band of [Ru­(bpy)3]2+ prepares the reactive excited state of the complex that oxidizes the nanocomposite membrane and increases its permeability. The photooxidation induces the release of [Ru­(bpy)3]2+, Ag+, and peroxidized lipids into the ambient medium, where they interact synergistically to inactivate bacteria. We measured a 7 order of magnitude decrease in Gram-positive Arthrobacter sp. and a 4 order of magnitude decrease in Gram-negative Escherichia coli colony forming units with the photoreactor bactericides after visible light illumination for 1 h. In both cases, the photoreactor exceeds the bactericidal standard of a log reduction value of 3 and surpasses the antibacterial effect of free Ag NPs or [Ru­(bpy)3]2+ by >4 orders of magnitude. We also implement the inactivation of a bacterial thin film in a proof-of-concept study.