Zinc oxide nanorods-decorated graphene nanoplatelets: A promising antimicrobial agent against the cariogenic bacterium Streptococcus mutans

Elena Zanni, Chandrakanth Reddy Chandraiahgari, Giovanni De Bellis, Maria Rita Montereali, Giovanna Armiento, Paolo Ballirano, Antonella Polimeni, Maria Sabrina Sarto, Daniela Uccelletti

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Nanomaterials are revolutionizing the field of medicine to improve the quality of life due to the myriad of applications stemming from their unique properties,including the antimicrobial activity against pathogens. In this study,the antimicrobial and antibiofilm properties of a novel nanomaterial composed by zinc oxide nanorods-decorated graphene nanoplatelets (ZNGs) are investigated. ZNGs were produced by hydrothermal method and characterized through field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM),energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques. The antimicrobial activity of ZNGs was evaluated against Streptococcus mutans,the main bacteriological agent in the etiology of dental caries. Cell viability assay demonstrated that ZNGs exerted a strikingly high killing effect on S. mutans cells in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover,FE-SEM analysis revealed relevant mechanical damages exerted by ZNGs at the cell surface of this dental pathogen rather than reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. In addition,inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) measurements showed negligible zinc dissolution,demonstrating that zinc ion release in the suspension is not associated with the high cellmortality rate. Finally,our data indicated that also S. mutans biofilm formation was affected by thepresence of graphene-zinc oxide (ZnO) based material,as witnessed by the safranin staining andgrowth curve analysis. Therefore,ZNGs can be a remarkable nanobactericide against one of the maindental pathogens. The potential applications in dental care and therapy are very promising.
Original languageEnglish
Article number179
Pages (from-to)-
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

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