Antibacterial and antibiofilm properties of yttrium fluoride nanoparticles

Int J Nanomedicine. 2012:7:5611-24. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S37075. Epub 2012 Nov 8.


Antibiotic resistance has prompted the search for new agents that can inhibit bacterial growth. Moreover, colonization of abiotic surfaces by microorganisms and the formation of biofilms is a major cause of infections associated with medical implants, resulting in prolonged hospitalization periods and patient mortality. In this study we describe a water-based synthesis of yttrium fluoride (YF(3)) nanoparticles (NPs) using sonochemistry. The sonochemical irradiation of an aqueous solution of yttrium (III) acetate tetrahydrate [Y(Ac)(3) · (H(2)O)(4)], containing acidic HF as the fluorine ion source, yielded nanocrystalline needle-shaped YF(3) particles. The obtained NPs were characterized by scanning electron microscopy and X-ray elemental analysis. NP crystallinity was confirmed by electron and powder X-ray diffractions. YF(3) NPs showed antibacterial properties against two common bacterial pathogens (Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus) at a μg/mL range. We were also able to demonstrate that antimicrobial activity was dependent on NP size. In addition, catheters were surface modified with YF(3) NPs using a one-step synthesis and coating process. The coating procedure yielded a homogeneous YF(3) NP layer on the catheter, as analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy. These YF(3) NP-modified catheters were investigated for their ability to restrict bacterial biofilm formation. The YF(3) NP-coated catheters were able to significantly reduce bacterial colonization compared to the uncoated surface. Taken together, our results highlight the potential to further develop the concept of utilizing these metal fluoride NPs as novel antimicrobial and antibiofilm agents, taking advantage of their low solubility and providing extended protection.

Keywords: antibacterial; biofilms; catheter; nanoparticles; sterile surfaces; yttrium fluoride.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Fluorides / chemistry
  • Fluorides / pharmacology*
  • Nanoparticles / administration & dosage*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Yttrium / chemistry
  • Yttrium / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Yttrium
  • Fluorides