A powerful combination of copper-cysteamine nanoparticles with potassium iodide for bacterial destruction

Xiumei Zhen, Lalit Chudal, Nil Kanatha Pandey, Jonathan Phan, Xin Ran, Eric Amandor, Xuejing Huang, Omar Johnson, Yuping Ran, Wei Chen, Michael R. Hamblin, Liyi Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Herein, for the first time, we demonstrate that the combination of copper-cysteamine (Cu-Cy) nanoparticles (NPs) and potassium iodide (KI) can significantly inactivate both Gram-positive MRSA and Gram-negative E. coli. To uncover the mystery of the killing, the interaction of KI with Cu-Cy NPs was investigated systematically and the products from their interaction were identified. No copper ions were released after adding KI to Cu-Cy NPs in cell-free medium and, therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the Fenton reaction induced by copper ions is not responsible for the bacterial killing. Based on the observations, we propose that the major killing mechanism involves the generation of toxic species, such as hydrogen peroxide, triiodide ions, iodide ions, singlet oxygen, and iodine molecules. Overall, the powerful combination of Cu-Cy NPs and KI has good potential as an independent treatment or a complementary antibiotic treatment to infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110659
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Publication statusPublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacterial killing
  • Copper
  • Copper-cysteamine
  • Nanoparticles
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Photosensitizer
  • Potassium iodide
  • Reactive iodine species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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