Investigation of antimicrobial activity of photothermal therapeutic gold/copper sulfide core/shell nanoparticles to bacterial spores and cells

J Biol Eng. 2014 Jun 2;8:11. doi: 10.1186/1754-1611-8-11. eCollection 2014.


Background: Au/CuS core/shell nanoparticles (NPs) were designed as a new type of transducer agent for photothermal therapy (PTT), with attractive features of easy preparation, low cost and small size for targeting. This paper studied for the first time the intrinsic antimicrobial activity of Au/CuS NPs to B. anthracis spores and cells in addition to its PTT effect.

Results: It was found that Au/CuS NPs were highly efficient in inactivating B. anthracis cells, but not effective to the spores. Treatment with NPs at ~0.83 μM for 30 min achieved a 7 log reduction in viable cells. The antimicrobial effect was both NPs concentration and treatment time dependent. SEM imaging and the efflux of DNA test demonstrated the damage of cell membrane after NPs treatment, yet further research is necessary to fully understand the precise inactivation mechanism.

Conclusions: The Au/CuS NPs had strong antimicrobial activity to B. anthracis cells, which showed a great potential to be an effective antimicrobial agent to bacterial cells.

Keywords: Antimicrobial; Bacillus anthracis; Bioterrorism; Nanoparticles.