Author(s): Ruiz ON, Fernando KA, Wang B, Brown NA, Luo PG,
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Abstract There have been multiple conflicting reports about the biocompatibility and antimicrobial activity of graphene oxide. To address this, we conducted a study to characterize the antimicrobial properties of graphene oxide (GO) and its biocompatibility with mammalian cells. When GO was added to a bacterial culture at 25 μg/mL, the results showed that bacteria grew faster and to a higher optical density than cultures without GO. Scanning electron microscopy indicated that bacteria formed dense biofilms in the presence of GO. This was shown by a large mass of aggregated cells and extracellular polymeric material. Bacterial growth on filters coated with 25 and 75 μg of GO grew 2 and 3 times better than on filters without GO. Closer analysis showed that bacteria were able to attach and proliferate preferentially in areas containing the highest GO levels. Graphene oxide films failed to produce growth inhibition zones around them, indicating a lack of antibacterial properties. Also, bacteria were able to grow on GO films to 9.5 × 10(9) cells from an initial inoculation of 1.0 × 10(6), indicating that it also lacks bacteriostatic activity. Thus, silver-coated GO films were able to produce clearing zones and cell death. Also, graphene oxide was shown to greatly enhance the attachment and proliferation of mammalian cells. This study conclusively demonstrates that graphene oxide does not have intrinsic antibacterial, bacteriostatic, and cytotoxic properties in both bacteria and mammalian cells. Furthermore, graphene oxide acts as a general enhancer of cellular growth by increasing cell attachment and proliferation.
This article was published in ACS Nano
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology