Toward Scaling up the Production of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles for Application on Washable Antimicrobial Cotton Fabrics


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Chemistry Department

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Noha Khalil Mahdy, Mousa El-Sayed, Saif El-Din Al-Mofty, Abdalla Mohamed, Ali H. Karaly, Mehrez E. El-Naggar, Hassan Nageh, Wessam A. Sarhan, Hassan Mohamed El-Said Azzazy

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

ACS Omega

Publication Date

Fall 10-17-2022




To examine the utilization of metal oxide nanoparticles (NPs) in different commercial products, this work focuses on the determination of cost-effective and scalable synthesis protocols. The solvothermal protocol is well-known as a scalable method but has recently been shown to lack economic feasibility. The mechanochemical method has recently been recognized to be a more economic and environmentally friendly substitute for the solvothermal method. In this study, zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) and copper oxide nanoparticles (CuO NPs) were synthesized using two (aqueous and organic) solvothermal (wet) methods and two (manual and automated) mechanochemical (dry) methods. The four methods were evaluated and compared. The automated mechanochemical method generated a significantly higher yield of ZnO NPs (82%) and CuO NPs (84%) using the least energy and time. However, the prepared ZnO NPs displayed higher cytotoxicity against Vero E6 cells when compared to that of CuO NPs. Because of their low cytotoxicity, CuO NPs synthesized via the automated mechanochemical method were selected for application onto cotton fabrics. Lower cytotoxicity was observed for CuO NPs treated fabrics with an IC50 of 562 mg/mL and ZnO treated fabrics with an IC50 at 23.93 mg/mL when the treated fabrics were tested against L929 fibroblast cells. Additionally, the cotton fabrics retained bactericidal and virucidal effects after four washes. Thus, the current study recommends the automated mechanochemical method as a cost-effective scalable approach for the synthesis of CuO NPs. The application of CuO NPs onto cotton fabrics generated washable antimicrobial face masks.

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