Diatomaceous earth/zinc oxide micro-composite assisted antibiotics in fungal therapy

Nano Converg. 2021 Oct 25;8(1):32. doi: 10.1186/s40580-021-00283-6.


As the second wave of COVID-19 hits South Asia, an increasing deadly complication 'fungal infections (such as Mycosis, Candida and Aspergillus) outbreak' has been raised concern about the insufficient technologies and medicals for its diagnosis and therapy. Biosilica based nano-therapy can be used for therapeutic efficacy, yet their direct role as antibiotic agent with biocompatibility and stability remains unclear. Here, we report that a diatomaceous earth (DE) framework semiconductor composite conjugated DE and in-house synthesized zinc oxide (DE-ZnO), as an antibiotic agent for the enhancement of antibiotic efficacy and persistence. We found that the DE-ZnO composite had enhanced antibiotic activity against fungi (A. fumigatus) and Gram-negative bacteria (E. coli, S. enterica). The DE-ZnO composite provides enhancing large surface areas for enhancement of target pathogen binding affinity, as well as produces active ions including reactive oxygen species and metal ion for breaking the cellular network of fungi and Gram-negative bacteria. Additionally, the toxicity of DE-ZnO with 3 time less amount of dosage is 6 times lower than the commercial SiO2-ZnO. Finally, a synergistic effect of DE-ZnO and existing antifungal agents (Itraconazole and Amphotericin B) showed a better antifungal activity, which could be reduced the side effects due to the antifungal agents overdose, than a single antibiotic agent use. We envision that this DE-ZnO composite can be used to enhance antibiotic activity and its persistence, with less-toxicity, biocompatibility and high stability against fungi and Gram-negative bacteria which could be a valuable candidate in medical science and industrial engineering.

Keywords: Antibiotic efficacy; Antifungal therapy; Biocompatibility; Persistent therapy; Synergistic effect.