The aqueous media could affect the physicochemical properties (e.g., surface charge, morphology, and aggregation) of ZnO nanoparticles (nZnO), leading to their different environmental impacts. In this study, the toxicity of nZnO toward the green fluorescent protein-expressing Escherichia coli cells under UV-365 light irradiaiton in various media was assessed, including deionized (DI) water, 0.85% NaCl, phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), minimal Davis medium (MD), and Luria-Bertani medium (LB). The toxicity of nZnO was assessed by the conventional plate count method and the fluorescence intensity method, which consistently demonstrated that the nZnO toxicity was dependent on the medium components that varied the potency of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. In DI, NaCl, PBS, and MD medium, nZnO generated three types of ROS (O2•-, •OH, and 1O2), whereas in LB medium, nZnO generated O2•- and 1O2. The total concentrations of ROS generated by nZnO in DI, NaCl, PBS, MD, and LB were 265.5 ± 15.9, 153.6 ± 8.6, 144.3 ± 6.9, 123.0 ± 6.0, and 115.6 ± 4.5 μM, respectively. Furthermore, a linear correlation was established between the total concentrations of three types of ROS generated by nZnO and their bacterial mortality rate (R2 = 0.92) in various media. Since the released Zn2+ from nZnO under UV irradiation only accounted for less than 10% of the total Zn in all media, the ionic forms of zinc did not significantly contribute to the overall toxicity. This work aims at providing further insight into the medium type influences on the ROS production and the toxicity of nZnO toward the E. coli cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces