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Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles Dispersed in Ionic Liquids Show High Antimicrobial Efficacy to Skin-Specific Bacteria

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journal contribution
posted on 19.04.2018, 00:00 by Anusha Aditya, Sabyasachi Chattopadhyay, Diksha Jha, Hemant K. Gautam, Souvik Maiti, Munia Ganguli
Zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles have been shown in the literature to have antibacterial properties and have been widely used in antibacterial formulations. However, one of the problems with ZnO nanoparticles is their tendency to aggregate, thereby causing damage to normal cells and lowering their antibacterial efficacy during application. In this work, we have attempted to avoid this by using a combination of ZnO nanoparticles and ionic liquids, a class of low melting salts containing organic cations and organic/inorganic anions that show antibacterial property as well, and tested the antibacterial activity of this dispersion. ZnO nanoparticles of 60 nm were dispersed in two different ionic liquidscholine acetate (IL1) and 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (IL2)to achieve high dispersibility, whereas ZnO dispersed in phosphate-buffered saline was taken as a control. These dispersions were tested on four strainsEscherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Maximum efficiency was obtained for ZnO nanoparticles dispersed in imidazolium-based ionic liquids against skin-specific S. epidermidis. Skin infections induced by S. epidermidis are prevalent in hospital-acquired diseases. In most cases, traditional antibiotic-based therapies fail to combat such infections. Our strategy of developing a dispersion of ZnO nanoparticles in ionic liquids shows superior antibacterial efficacy in comparison to that shown individually by ZnO nanoparticles or ionic liquids. We have also established that the mechanism of killing this skin-specific bacterium is possibly through the production of reactive oxygen species leading to bacterial cell lysis. Further, we showed that this formulation is biocompatible and nontoxic to normal keratinocyte cells even under coculture conditions.

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