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Obtaining Nanoparticles of Chilean Natural Zeolite and its Ion Exchange with Copper Salt (Cu2+) for Antibacterial Applications

Centro de Biomateriales y Nanotecnología, Universidad del Bío-Bío, Concepción 4030000, Chile
Departamento de Ingeniería en Maderas, Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad del Bío-Bío, Concepción 4030000, Chile
Nanomaterials and Catalysts for Sustainable Processes Group (NanoCatpPS), Concepción 4030000, Chile
Departamento de Procesos Industriales, Universidad Católica de Temuco, Temuco 4780000, Chile
Departamento de Ingeniería en Alimentos, Universidad del Bío-Bío, Chillán 3780000, Chile
Departamento de Física, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad del Bío-Bío, Concepción 4030000, Chile
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2019, 12(13), 2202;
Received: 26 April 2019 / Revised: 11 June 2019 / Accepted: 12 June 2019 / Published: 9 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Porous Materials and Nanozeolites)
PDF [17966 KB, uploaded 9 July 2019]


This article describes the production of nanoparticles of Chilean natural zeolite, using three size reduction methods: Ball mill, microgrinding, and microfluidization. Morphological characterization of samples indicated an average diameter of 37.2 ± 15.8 nm of the zeolite particles. The size reduction and chemical treatments did not affect the morphology or integrity of the zeolite. An increase of the zeolite samples’ Si/Al ratio was observed after the acid treatment and was confirmed by SEM-EDX analysis. Moreover, the effectiveness of the copper salt ion exchange (Cu2+) to the zeolite nanoparticles was analyzed by SEM-EDX. XRD analysis indicated that clinoptilolite and mordenite are the main phases of Chilean natural zeolite, and the crystalline structure was not affected by the modification processes. The FTIR characterization showed the presence of chemical bonds of copper with the zeolite nanoparticle framework. The ion-exchanged zeolite nanoparticles were evaluated for antibacterial behavior by the disc diffusion method. Additionally, the minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration were obtained. Microbiological assays with copper-exchanged nanozeolites showed an antimicrobial activity with a bactericidal effect against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, which are the primary pathogens of food and are also resistant to multiple drugs. In this study, a new application for natural nanozeolites is demonstrated, as the incorporated copper ions (Cu2+) in nanozeolites registered a productive antibacterial activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: chilean natural nanozeolite; copper salts; ion exchange; antibacterial properties chilean natural nanozeolite; copper salts; ion exchange; antibacterial properties

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Vergara-Figueroa, J.; Alejandro-Martín, S.; Pesenti, H.; Cerda, F.; Fernández-Pérez, A.; Gacitúa, W. Obtaining Nanoparticles of Chilean Natural Zeolite and its Ion Exchange with Copper Salt (Cu2+) for Antibacterial Applications. Materials 2019, 12, 2202.

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