Photocatalytic inhibition of bacteria by TiO2 nanotubes-doped polyethylene composites

Daniela Yañez, Sichem Guerrero, Ingo Lieberwirth, María Teresa Ulloa, Tatiana Gomez, Franco M. Rabagliati, Paula A. Zapata*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Polyethylene (PE) and polyethylene-octadecene (LLDPE) composites containing titanium dioxide nanotubes were synthesized and applied to the inhibition of selected bacteria. It was found that polymerization rate of the polymerizations increased with the incorporation of the octadecene compared with bare ethylene, while with modified nanotubes (O-TiO2-Ntbs) the catalytic activity showed a slight decrease compared with the pure polymer. Regarding physical properties, the melting temperature and cristallinity of PE was higher than LLDPE. LLDPE presented lower rigidity than PE and thus lower Young's modulus. On the other hand, with the incorporation of nanotubes, Young's modulus did not change significantly with respect to PE. After 2h of contact, the PE/O-TiO2-Ntbs composite showed a reduction of Escherichia coli of 36.7% under no UVA irradiations. In contrast, LLDPE/O-TiO2-Ntbs showed 63.5%. The photocatalytic reduction (under UVA light) was much higher and after 60min the LLDPE/O-TiO2-Ntbs composites showed a bacterial reduction of 99.9%, whereas the PE/O-TiO2-Ntbs showed 42.6% of catalytic reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-261
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Catalysis A: General
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
P.A. Zapata acknowledges the financial support under CONICYT insertion project 79100010, FONDECYT Project “Iniciación en Investigación 11110237” to P.A. Zapata, and DICYT-USACH Project 021341 RC. T.G. acknowledges financial support provided by project FONDECYT no. 3130530.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Nanocomposites
  • Photocatalytic inhibition
  • Polyethylene
  • TiO nanotubes


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