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Volume 6 (2006), Pages 374-382
Research Article

Immobilization of Zinc Phthalocyanines in Silicate Matrices and Investigation of Their Photobactericidal Effect on E.coli

1Department of Biotechnology, University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy, Sofia, Bulgaria
2School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, UK

Received 15 November 2005; Revised 31 January 2006; Accepted 13 March 2006

Academic Editor: Joao Carlos Marques

Copyright © 2006 Spas Artarsky et al.


The aim of the present investigation was to immobilize zinc phthalocyanines in a silicate matrix and to test the photobactericidal properties of the matrices so prepared toward Esherichia coli in model aqueous media. For the purpose, tetra tertiary butyl zinc phthalocyanine (TBZnPc) and zinc phthalocyanine tetrasulfonic acid (ZnPcTS) were used. The abilities of these two photosensitizers to generate singlet oxygen in solution were compared by following the rate of photobleaching of 1,3-diphenylisobenzofuran (DPBF) at 430 nm in dimethylformamide (DMF).The results of this study show clearly that, under the conditions used here, the TBZnPc is the more effective generator of singlet oxygen; with it the DPBF was virtually completely photobleached in 4 min, while with the ZnPcTS under the same conditions, it took 12 min to reach this point. Glass conjugates with the two phthalocyanines were obtained by the sol-gel technique and were characterized by a well-defined color due to the phthalocyanine incorporated in the silicate matrix. Glasses with an intense, but inhomogeneous, green color were obtained when the tetrasulfonic derivative of the zinc phthalocyanine was used, while blue glasses of evenly distributed coloration were formed from the tetra tertiary butyl derivative.The ZnPcTS conjugate demonstrates more effective singlet oxygen evolution than is the case with the TBZnPc conjugate. These results are the opposite of those obtained for the free phthalocyanines in solution. The structural formulae of the compounds show that TBZnPc has a more pronounced hydrophobic character than the sulfonic derivative. In our view, the relative reactivities of the conjugates can be explained by the tetrasulfonic derivative being situated mainly in the surface parts of the glass matrix where the hydrophilic character is prevailing, while the tertiary butyl derivative is mainly present in the internal parts of the matrix as a result of which it is less accessible and therefore less activeThe results obtained on the effect of zinc phthalocyanine conjugates on E. coli show a trend similar to that observed with singlet oxygen evolution shown. Thus, for the ZnPcTS conjugate, the log kill is 1.32 and for the TBZnPc conjugate, it is 0.98, in each case after 120 min. The results obtained show that phthalocyanines can be immobilized successfully in a silicate matrix and used for photodisinfection of microbially polluted waters. The silicate matrix has some advantages in comparison with other organic matrices. It is insoluble in water, resistant towards microorganisms, easy to fabricate, and might be developed successfully for the photodisinfection of water, e.g., in swimming pools and in other open water reservoirs.