Ternary Biocidal-Photocatalytic-Upconverting Nanocomposites for Enhanced Antibacterial Activity

Mingyue Zhang, Wensi Chen, Woosung Choi, Jiwoo Yu, Yulin Deng, Xing Xie, Zhiqun Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Active antibacterial food packaging represents one of the most rapidly developing techniques in the food industry. The ability to inhibit, inactivate, kill, or maintain a low level of microbials in food products or food packages is crucial to reducing global foodborne diseases. Notably, metallic silver (Ag) and semiconducting titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanomaterials as well as their nanocomposites have been widely studied for food packaging because of their intrinsic biocidal and photocatalytic properties, respectively. However, they have inherent limitations associated with potential nanotoxicity of Ag nanoparticles and the need for ultraviolet (UV) irradiation for wide-bandgap TiO2nanomaterials to invoke photocatalytic oxidation of microbials. In this context, upconverting nanocrystals (UCNCs) convert near infrared photons into visible and UV photons that could excite TiO2without the use of a UV source. Herein, we designed ternary multifunctional nanocomposites composed of plasmonic Ag, photocatalytic TiO2, and upconverting NaYF4@Yb:Tm NPs as highly efficient biocidal nanomaterials under ambient light. The incorporation of UCNCs into the nanocomposites is found to be the key to enhanced antibacterial performance. Compared to Ag NP and Ag/TiO2nanocomposite counterparts, the ternary Ag/TiO2/NaYF4@Yb:Tm nanocomposites yield superior antibacterial performance against Escherichia coli under both ambient light and solar simulator irradiation with UV photons filtered, when either applied alone or mixed with cellulose nanofibrils and then processed into films. Such multicomponent nanocomposites have great potential for use in food packaging as they reduce the amount of potentially toxic Ag used and are able to function without UV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4741-4749
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number14
StatePublished - 11 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.


  • antibacterial
  • food packaging
  • nanocomposite
  • photocatalysis
  • upconversion


Dive into the research topics of 'Ternary Biocidal-Photocatalytic-Upconverting Nanocomposites for Enhanced Antibacterial Activity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this