A simple robust method for synthesis of metallic copper nanoparticles of high antibacterial potency against E

Author(s): Chatterjee K, Sarkar RK, Chattopadhyay AP


A method for preparation of copper nanoparticles (Cu-NPs) was developed by simple reduction of CuCl2 in the presence of gelatin as a stabilizer and without applying stringent conditions like purging with nitrogen. The NPs were characterized by spectrophotometry, dynamic light scattering, x-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The particles were about 50–60 nm in size and highly stable. The antibacterial activity of this Cu-NP on Gram-negative Escherichia coli was demonstrated by the methods of agar plating, flow cytometry and phase contrast microscopy. The minimum inhibitory concentration (3.0 µg ml−1), minimum bactericidal concentration (7.5 µg ml−1) and susceptibility constant (0.92) showed that this Cu-NP is highly effective against E. coli at a much lower concentration than that reported previously. Treatment with Cu-NPs made E. coli cells filamentous. The higher the concentration of Cu-NPs, the greater the population of filamentous cells; average filament size varied from 7 to 20 µm compared to the normal cell size of ∼2.5 µm. Both filamentation and killing of cells by Cu-NPs (7.5 µg ml−1) also occurred in an E. coli strain resistant to multiple antibiotics. Moreover, an antibacterial effect of Cu-NPs was also observed in Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus, for which the values of minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration were close to that for E. coli.

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