Superior ion release properties and antibacterial efficacy of nanostructured zeolites ion-exchanged with zinc, copper, and iron

Shaojiang Chen, John Popovich, Wenwen Zhang, Collin Ganser, Shelley E. Haydel, Dong Kyun Seo

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Antimicrobial zeolites ion-exchanged with inexpensive transition metal ions (such as zinc, copper, and iron) are critically important for a broader adoption of the materials for public health applications. Due to the high surface area and small particle sizes, nanozeolites are particularly promising in enhancing the efficacy of the zeolite-based antimicrobial materials. By using highly-crystalline nanostructured zeolites (FAU) with textural mesoporosity, we report a comprehensive study on the materials characteristics of zinc-, copper-, and iron-ion exchanged nanozeolites, the ion release properties, and antibacterial efficacy against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), as well as a comparison of the properties to those obtained for the corresponding microsized zeolites. Superior ion release properties were observed for both zinc and copper ion-exchanged nanostructured zeolite X, with ion release up to 73% for zinc and 36% for copper of their initial loadings, as compared to 50% and 12%, respectively, for the corresponding microsized zeolites, validating the importance of nanostructuring for enhanced ion diffusion through zeolite pore channels. The 2 hours minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) in saline for the copper ion-exchanged nanostructured zeolite X was 32 μg mL−1, half the corresponding microsized zeolite X MBC of 64 μg mL−1. Our results established nanostructured zeolite X as a superior host material for metal ion-based antimicrobials, with the aforementioned improvements for copper-exchanged nanozeolites compared to previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37949-37957
Number of pages9
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number66
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

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