Antimould agents are widely used in different applications, such as specialty paints, building materials, wood preservation and crop protection. However, many antimould agents can be toxic to the environment. This work aims to evaluate the application of copper oxide nanoparticles (CuONPs) surface modified with boronic acid (BA) terminal groups as antimould agents. We developed CuONPs grafted with (3-glycidyloxypropyl) trimethoxysilane (GLYMO), coupled with 4-hydroxyphenylboronic acid (4-HPBA), which provided a strong boost of their action as antimould agents. We studied the antimould action of the 4-HPBA-functionalized CuONPs against two mould species: Aspergillus niger (A. niger) and Penicillium chrysogenum (P. chrysogenum). The cis-diol groups of polysaccharides expressed on the mould cell walls can form reversible covalent bonds with the BA groups attached on the CuONPs surface. This allowed them to bind strongly to the mould surface, resulting in a very substantial boost of their antimould activity, which is not based on electrostatic adhesion, as in the case of bare CuONPs. The impact of these BA-surface functionalized nanoparticles was studied by measuring the growth of the mould colonies versus time. The BA-functionalized CuONPs showed significant antimould action, compared to the untreated mould sample at the same conditions and period of time. These results can be applied for the development of more efficient antimould treatments at a lower concentration of active agent with potentially substantial economic and environmental benefits.
Keywords: 4-hydroxyphenylboronic acid; Aspergillus niger; Penicillium chrysogenum; antimould nanoparticles; boronic acid; carbohydrates; copper oxide.