Skip to main content
Use of Zero-Valent Iron Nanoparticles in Inactivating Microbes
Water Research (2009)
  • Minghui Diao, Peking University
  • Maosheng Yao, Peking University
Nanoscale zero-valent iron (NZVI) particles were investigated in inactivating gram-positive Bacillus subtilis var. niger and gram-negative Pseudomonas fluorescensbacteria, and the fungus Aspergillus versicolor. NZVI particles were synthesized using NaBH4 and Fe(NO3)3·9H2O, and the microbial suspensions were subjected to the treatments of NZVI particle suspensions with concentrations of 0.1, 1 and 10 mg/ml for 5 min. Field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM) was used to characterize the synthesized NZVI particles, suspensions and the surface morphologies of the treated agents.

FE-SEM images showed that the NZVI particles were spherical with a fairly uniform size of about 20–30 nm, and the iron precipitates FeO(OH) appeared in needle-shape aggregates. When treated directly with NZVI particles under aerobic condition, the surfaces of microbes were quickly coated with needle-shape yellow-brown iron oxides. In this study, complete inactivation was achieved both for B. subtilis var. niger and P. fluorescens when treated with 10 mg/ml NZVI particles with vigorous shaking under aerobic condition. When NZVI particle concentration decreased to 1, 0.1 mg/ml, there was still a complete inactivation for P. fluorescens, while for B. subtilis var. niger the inactivation decreased to 95%, 80%, respectively. However, no inactivation was observed for the fungus A. versicolor when treated the same manner. Physical coating, disruption of membrane and generation of reactive oxygen species have played major roles in the inactivation observed.
  • Nanoscale zero-valent iron particles,
  • Bacteria,
  • Fungi,
  • Inactivation
Publication Date
December, 2009
Publisher Statement
SJSU users: use the following link to login and access the article via SJSU databases.
Citation Information
Minghui Diao and Maosheng Yao. "Use of Zero-Valent Iron Nanoparticles in Inactivating Microbes" Water Research Vol. 43 Iss. 20 (2009) p. 5243 - 5251 ISSN: 0043-1354
Available at: