Eradication of multi-drug resistant bacteria by a novel Zn-doped CuO nanocomposite

Small. 2013 Dec 9;9(23):4069-76. doi: 10.1002/smll.201301081. Epub 2013 Jun 28.


Zinc-doped copper oxide nanoparticles are synthesized and simultaneously deposited on cotton fabric using ultrasound irradiation. The optimization of the processing conditions, the specific reagent ratio, and the precursor concentration results in the formation of uniform nanoparticles with an average size of ≈30 nm. The antibacterial activity of the Zn-doped CuO Cu₀.₈₈Zn₀.₁₂O in a colloidal suspension or deposited on the fabric is tested against Escherichia coli (Gram negative) and Staphylococcus aureus (Gram positive) bacteria. A substantial enhancement of 10,000 times in the antimicrobial activity of the Zn-CuO nanocomposite compared to the pure CuO and ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) is observed after 10 min exposure to the bacteria. Similar activities are observed against multidrug-resistant bacteria (MDR), (i.e., Methicillin-resistant S. aureus and MDR E. coli) further emphasizing the efficacy of this composite. Finally, the mechanism for this enhanced antibacterial activity is presented.

Keywords: CuO; ZnO; antibacterials; doping; multi-drug resistance; nanocomposites; nanoparticles.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Copper / chemistry*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Nanocomposites / chemistry*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Zinc Oxide / chemistry*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Copper
  • Zinc Oxide
  • cupric oxide