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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 280512, 6 pages
Research Article

Antibacterial Activity of Nanocomposites of Copper and Cellulose

1Department of Chemistry; CICECO, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
2Innovhub-SSI Divisione Carta, Via Giuseppe Colombo, 83-20133 Milan, Italy

Received 30 April 2013; Revised 26 September 2013; Accepted 1 October 2013

Academic Editor: Hélder A. Santos

Copyright © 2013 Ricardo J. B. Pinto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The design of cheap and safe antibacterial materials for widespread use has been a challenge in materials science. The use of copper nanostructures combined with abundant biopolymers such as cellulose offers a potential approach to achieve such materials though this has been less investigated as compared to other composites. Here, nanocomposites comprising copper nanofillers in cellulose matrices have been prepared by in situ and ex situ methods. Two cellulose matrices (vegetable and bacterial) were investigated together with morphological distinct copper particulates (nanoparticles and nanowires). A study on the antibacterial activity of these nanocomposites was carried out for Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae, as pathogen microorganisms. The results showed that the chemical nature and morphology of the nanofillers have great effect on the antibacterial activity, with an increase in the antibacterial activity with increasing copper content in the composites. The cellulosic matrices also show an effect on the antibacterial efficiency of the nanocomposites, with vegetal cellulose fibers acting as the most effective substrate. Regarding the results obtained, we anticipate the development of new approaches to prepare cellulose/copper based nanocomposites thereby producing a wide range of interesting antibacterial materials with potential use in diverse applications such as packaging or paper coatings.