Last updateTue, 29 Nov 2022 9am

Back You are here: Inicio New materials Technological offers Non-toxic antimicrobial zinc oxide microparticles

Non-toxic antimicrobial zinc oxide microparticles

Scientists at the CSIC have developed zinc oxide microstructures which have a very high antimicrobial activity, compared to the commercial nanoparticles. The particles obtained by the CSIC scientists have low toxicity, as they release low levels of toxic ions and reactive oxygen species. They can be applied for the elimination inhibition of microorganisms growing.

The microparticles have a structure shaped like a flower.Zinc oxide (ZnO) materials find uses in very different technological fields. The smallest nanometrical particles of ZnO are efficient as antibacterial agents. Nevertheless, their main inconvenient is the toxicity: not only they can easily penetrate the cells and generate reactive oxygen species (ROS), but also they release zinc toxic ions (Zn2+).
A scientific team at the CSIC has developed non-toxic zinc oxide micro-particles. The particles generate low levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and eight times fewer zinc toxic ions than the commercial products. Also, as they don’t generate oxygen reactive species, there is not photodegradation.

It has a structure shaped like a flower, with particles composed of stacked sheets, jointed by one of the endings and arranged in conical shape. The production method is a simple step of watery dilution, which includes a furnace treatment to improve the crystallinity of the structure, giving as a result a 40-70 nanometres crystal. The particles have a stable structure, therefore to manipulate them is a safer process.
The production process is an easy and cost-effective soft chemistry procedure. As a result, it gives a white powder of zinc oxide, which can be applied to several fields. The material is ecologically friendly as it releases low quantities of toxic ions.
The particles have a biocide effect in contact with microorganisms. Essays in laboratory have shown that the microparticles are effective against E.coli bacteria (reducing up to 99,98 % the bacteria E.coli G-), as well as against fungi (wide spectrum and high activity), in very low amounts (3 particles per million or ppm). 


Marisa Carrascoso Arranz
Vicepresidencia Adjunta
de Transferencia del Conocimiento
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Tel.: 34 915681533
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.