Comparative Study of the Bacteriological Activity of Zinc Oxide and Copper Oxide Nanoparticles

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Interest in nanomaterials, especially metal oxides, in the fight against resistant and constantly changing bacterial strains, is more and more expressed. Their very high reactivity, resulting from their large surface area, promoted them to the rank of potential successors of antibiotics.

Our work consisted of the synthesis of zinc oxide (ZnO) and copper oxide (CuO) in the nanoparticle state and the study of their bactericidal effect on various Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterial strains.

The nanoparticles of metal oxides have been synthesized by sol-gel method. Qualitative analysis and characterization by UV / Visible and infrared spectrophotometry and X-ray diffraction confirmed that the synthetic products are crystalline. The application of the Scherrer equation allows to determine the size of the two metal oxides, namely: 76.94 nm for ZnO and 24.86 nm for CuO.

The bactericidal effect of ZnO and CuO nanoparticles was tested on Gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus hominis, Staphylococcus haemolyticus, Enterococcus facials) and Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli, Schigella, Klepsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa). The results indicate that the tested metal oxides nanoparticles have an effect that varies depending on bacterial species. Indeed, Gram-positive bacteria show greater sensitivity to ZnO nanoparticles whereas Gram-negative bacteria are more sensitive to CuO nanoparticles.

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