CdTe and CdSe quantum dots cytotoxicity: a comparative study on microorganisms

Sensors (Basel). 2011;11(12):11664-78. doi: 10.3390/s111211664. Epub 2011 Dec 15.


Quantum dots (QDs) are colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals of a few nanometers in diameter, being their size and shape controlled during the synthesis. They are synthesized from atoms of group II-VI or III-V of the periodic table, such as cadmium telluride (CdTe) or cadmium selenium (CdSe) forming nanoparticles with fluorescent characteristics superior to current fluorophores. The excellent optical characteristics of quantum dots make them applied widely in the field of life sciences. Cellular uptake of QDs, location and translocation as well as any biological consequence, such as cytotoxicity, stimulated a lot of scientific research in this area. Several studies pointed to the cytotoxic effect against micoorganisms. In this mini-review, we overviewed the synthesis and optical properties of QDs, and its advantages and bioapplications in the studies about microorganisms such as protozoa, bacteria, fungi and virus.

Keywords: Trypanosoma cruzi; bacteria; citotoxicity; microorganisms; quantum dots.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Cadmium Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests*
  • Quantum Dots*
  • Selenium Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Tellurium / pharmacology*
  • Viruses / drug effects


  • Cadmium Compounds
  • Selenium Compounds
  • cadmium selenide
  • Tellurium
  • cadmium telluride