Characterisation of copper oxide nanoparticles for antimicrobial applications

Guogang Ren, D. Hu, E.W.C. Cheng, M.A. Vargas-Reus, P. Reip, R. Allaker

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    Copper oxide (CuO) nanoparticles were characterised and investigated with respect to potential antimicrobial applications. It was found that nanoscaled CuO, generated by thermal plasma technology, contains traces of pure Cu and Cu2O nanoparticles. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) demonstrated particle sizes in the range 20–95 nm. TEM energy dispersive spectroscopy gave the ratio of copper to oxygen elements as 54.18% to 45.26%. The mean surface area was determined as 15.69 m2/g by Brunau–Emmet–Teller (BET) analysis. CuO nanoparticles in suspension showed activity against a range of bacterial pathogens, including meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli, with minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) ranging from 100 μg/mL to 5000 μg/mL. The ability of CuO nanoparticles to reduce bacterial populations to zero was enhanced in the presence of sub-MBC concentrations of silver nanoparticles. Studies of CuO nanoparticles incorporated into polymers suggest release of ions may be required for optimum killing.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)587-590
    JournalInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • nanoparticle
    • copper oxide
    • CuO
    • antimicrobial
    • cross-infection control


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