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Biomaterials. 2014 May;35(15):4428-35. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.02.014. Epub 2014 Mar 4.

Photodynamic antibacterial effect of graphene quantum dots.

Author information

1
Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Dr. Subotica 1, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia.
2
Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences, University of Belgrade, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia.
3
Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences, University of Belgrade, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia. Electronic address: zormark@vinca.rs.
4
Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Dr. Subotica 1, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia. Electronic address: vtrajkovic@med.bg.ac.rs.

Abstract

Synthesis of new antibacterial agents is becoming increasingly important in light of the emerging antibiotic resistance. In the present study we report that electrochemically produced graphene quantum dots (GQD), a new class of carbon nanoparticles, generate reactive oxygen species when photoexcited (470 nm, 1 W), and kill two strains of pathogenic bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Bacterial killing was demonstrated by the reduction in number of bacterial colonies in a standard plate count method, the increase in propidium iodide uptake confirming the cell membrane damage, as well as by morphological defects visualized by atomic force microscopy. The induction of oxidative stress in bacteria exposed to photoexcited GQD was confirmed by staining with a redox-sensitive fluorochrome dihydrorhodamine 123. Neither GQD nor light exposure alone were able to cause oxidative stress and reduce the viability of bacteria. Importantly, mouse spleen cells were markedly less sensitive in the same experimental conditions, thus indicating a fairly selective antibacterial photodynamic action of GQD.

KEYWORDS:

Antibacterial; Graphene; Oxidative stress; Photodynamic; Quantum dot

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