Antimicrobial photodynamic inactivation in nanomedicine: Small light strides against bad bugs

Rui Yin, Tanupriya Agrawal, Usman Khan, Gaurav K. Gupta, Vikrant Rai, Ying Ying Huang, Michael R. Hamblin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Citations (Scopus)


The relentless advance of drug-resistance among pathogenic microbes, mandates a search for alternative approaches that will not cause resistance. Photodynamic inactivation (PDI) involves the combination of nontoxic dyes with harmless visible light to produce reactive oxygen species that can selectively kill microbial cells. PDI can be broad-spectrum in nature and can also destroy microbial cells in biofilms. Many different kinds of nanoparticles have been studied to potentiate antimicrobial PDI by improving photosensitizer solubility, photochemistry, photophysics and targeting. This review will cover photocatalytic disinfection with titania nanoparticles, carbon nanomaterials (fullerenes, carbon nanotubes and graphene), liposomes and polymeric nanoparticles. Natural polymers (chitosan and cellulose), gold and silver plasmonic nanoparticles, mesoporous silica, magnetic and upconverting nanoparticles have all been used for PDI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2379-2404
Number of pages26
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • bacteria
  • carbon nanomaterials
  • fungi
  • liposomes
  • photodynamic therapy
  • photoinactivation
  • photosensitizer
  • titania photocatalysis
  • upconversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Development


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