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Advances in Condensed Matter Physics
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 6394124, 9 pages
Research Article

Antimicrobial Efficacy and Cell Adhesion Inhibition of In Situ Synthesized ZnO Nanoparticles/Polyvinyl Alcohol Nanofibrous Membranes

1School of Life Science and Technology, Tongji University, 1239 Siping Road, Shanghai 200092, China
2Anhui Agricultural University, 130 West Changjiang Road, Hefei 230036, China
3Institute of Microbiology, Technische Universität Dresden, Zellescher Weg 20b, 01217 Dresden, Germany

Received 11 August 2016; Revised 4 November 2016; Accepted 21 November 2016

Academic Editor: Mohindar S. Seehra

Copyright © 2016 Jian Li 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.


Nanoparticle metal oxides are emerging as a new class of important materials in medical, agricultural, and industrial applications. In this context, free zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles (NPs) have been increasingly shown with broad antimicrobial activities. However, biological properties of immobilized ZnO NPs on matrixes like nanofibrous membranes are still limited. In this study, in situ synthesized ZnO NPs/polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) nanofibrous membranes were fabricated by electrospinning with different zinc acetate concentrations. Characterization results indicated that, with 5 mM zinc acetate, uniform size ZnO NPs (~40 nm) were formed and evenly distributed on the membrane surface. The surfaces became more hydrophobic with higher concentration of zinc acetate. ZnO NPs/PVA nanofibrous membranes showed a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activities and cell adhesion inhibiting effects against four microorganisms including Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus, Gram-negative Escherichia coli, fungi Candida albicans, and spores of Aspergillus niger. Our data revealed that the major antimicrobial mechanism could be attributed to cell membrane damage and cellular internalization of ZnO NPs, while the hydrophobic surface of the membrane primarily contributed to the cell adhesion inhibition. This study suggests that ZnO NPs/PVA nanofibrous membranes could potentially be used as an effective antimicrobial agent to maintain agricultural and food safety.