Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Nanodiamands as bacterial killers


Material scientists from Bremen (Germany) and Stanford have identified nanodiamonds as potent bactericidal agent and published an article in „ACS Nano“.

Exhibiting a diameter of 5 nanometers, nanodiamonds are 200-times smaller than a bacterium. Nanodiamonds are produced by the explosion of carbon-containing compounds in high-pressure storage tanks. Here, the tiny detonation diamonds are formed besides large amounts of soot.

The colored particles display different types of nanodiamonds that bind to bacterial cells (grey) and kill them.

Foto: Rezwan

The material scientists Dr. Michael Maas, Julia Wehling and Professor Kurosch Rezwan from the University of Bremen (Germany) have now identified the strong antibacterial properties of these nanodiamonds. Besides silver and copper, nanodiamonds might be used as a new effective agent against bacterial contaminations and infections.

Discovered in the 1960s by Russian scientists, nanodiamonds only recently came into the spotlight, caused by current breakthroughs in processing and pretreatments that enabled their use in laboratories. Heat treatment of the grayish brown diamond powder can be used to generate different chemical groups on the nanodiamond surface. Biologist Julia Wehling and chemist and project leader Dr. Michael Maas discovered that some types of nanodiamonds kill bacterial cells rapidly and efficiently.

Seeking to understand the reason for the antibacterial properties, both material scientists from the Advanced Ceramics Group of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Kurosch Rezwan puzzled out the cause: some oxygen-containing groups on the surface of nanodiamonds, such as acid anhydrides, seem to be responsible for the antibacterial effect of the diamonds.

“The discovery that nanodiamonds kill bacterial cells as effectively as silver, which has been already used for 7000 years, opens a multitude of possible applications in biomedicine and material science. Furthermore, the concentrations that we used are proven to be nontoxic for human cells.

This enables the use of nanodiamonds for surface coatings or as additives for disinfectants. In the era of antibiotic resistances, the discovery of a new antibacterial material can be seen as a breakthrough”, says Julia Wehling.

The only scarcely explored diamonds were brought to the attention of Dr. Michael Maas by Prof. Richard N. Zare during a visit at Stanford University in California. “After my return, we directly started using nanodiamonds in the different nanosystems that we are working with in Bremen.

We were quite surprised by how efficiently nanodiamonds killed bacteria and we are convinced that our discovery will be of great impact for further research. It can be expected that nanodiamonds will play a key role in different areas dealing with bacterial infection. Our next goal is to equip implant materials with nanodiamonds to provide them with antibacterial properties. At the same time, we want to further analyze the diamond surface”, Michael Maas says.

Professor Kurosch Rezwan, director of the Advanced Ceramics department at the University of Bremen also sees great potential in the antibacterial nanodiamonds and points out that the publication in the renowned journal “ACS Nano” would not have been possible without the excellent collaboration with Prof. Dr. Ralf Dringen as the leader of the Biomolecular Interactions and Neurobiochemistry Group of the University of Bremen and Prof. Richard N. Zare of the department of chemistry of the Stanford University.

Full publication:
Julia Wehling, Ralf Dringen, Richard N. Zare, Michael Maas, Kurosch Rezwan: Bactericidal Activity of Partially Oxidized Nanodiamonds, ACS Nano, 2014,

Further information:

Universität Bremen
Fachbereich Produktionstechnik
Keramische Werkstoffe und Bauteile / Advanced Ceramics

M.Sc. Julia Wehling
Tel.: +49 421 218 64966

Dr. rer. nat. Michael Maas
Tel.: +49 421 218 64939

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Kurosch Rezwan
Tel.: +49 421 218 64930

Eberhard Scholz | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: ACS Ceramics Nano antibacterial bacterial copper diamonds infections nanodiamonds nanometers properties

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New Artificial Cells Mimic Nature’s Tiny Reactors
09.10.2015 | Department of Energy, Office of Science

nachricht Reliable in-line inspections of high-strength automotive body parts within seconds
09.10.2015 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Reliable in-line inspections of high-strength automotive body parts within seconds

Nondestructive material testing (NDT) is a fast and effective way to analyze the quality of a product during the manufacturing process. Because defective materials can lead to malfunctioning finished products, NDT is an essential quality assurance measure, especially in the manufacture of safety-critical components such as automotive B-pillars. NDT examines the quality without damaging the component or modifying the surface of the material. At this year's Blechexpo trade fair in Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IZFP will have an exhibit that demonstrates the nondestructive testing of high-strength automotive body parts using 3MA. The measurement results are available in a matter of seconds.

To minimize vehicle weight and fuel consumption while providing the highest level of crash safety, automotive bodies are reinforced with elements made from...

Im Focus: Kick-off for a new era of precision astronomy

The MICADO camera, a first light instrument for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), has entered a new phase in the project: by agreeing to a Memorandum of Understanding, the partners in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Italy, have all confirmed their participation. Following this milestone, the project's transition into its preliminary design phase was approved at a kick-off meeting held in Vienna. Two weeks earlier, on September 18, the consortium and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is building the telescope, have signed the corresponding collaboration agreement.

As the first dedicated camera for the E-ELT, MICADO will equip the giant telescope with a capability for diffraction-limited imaging at near-infrared...

Im Focus: Locusts at the wheel: University of Graz investigates collision detector inspired by insect eyes

Self-driving cars will be on our streets in the foreseeable future. In Graz, research is currently dedicated to an innovative driver assistance system that takes over control if there is a danger of collision. It was nature that inspired Dr Manfred Hartbauer from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Graz: in dangerous traffic situations, migratory locusts react around ten times faster than humans. Working together with an interdisciplinary team, Hartbauer is investigating an affordable collision detector that is equipped with artificial locust eyes and can recognise potential crashes in time, during both day and night.

Inspired by insects

Im Focus: Physicists shrink particle accelerator

Prototype demonstrates feasibility of building terahertz accelerators

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...

Im Focus: Simple detection of magnetic skyrmions

New physical effect: researchers discover a change of electrical resistance in magnetic whirls

At present, tiny magnetic whirls – so called skyrmions – are discussed as promising candidates for bits in future robust and compact data storage devices. At...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing healthcare and sustainably strengthening healthcare systems

01.10.2015 | Event News

Conference in Brussels: Tracking and Tracing the Smallest Marine Life Forms

30.09.2015 | Event News

World Alzheimer`s Day – Professor Willnow: Clearer Insights into the Development of the Disease

17.09.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Unexpected information about Earth's climate history from Yellow River sediment

09.10.2015 | Earth Sciences

Single atom alloy platinum-copper catalysts cut costs, boost green technology

09.10.2015 | Life Sciences

Indefatigable Hearing

09.10.2015 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>