RSC Adv. 2023 Aug 21;13(35):24835-24845. doi: 10.1039/d3ra04488b. eCollection 2023 Aug 11.
The emergence and re-emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a potential threat to treating infectious diseases. This study employed a nanometer-scale green synthesis using an extract of Solanum incanum leaves to obtain nanoparticles (NPs) and nanocomposites (NCs) possessing antibacterial properties. The FESEM-EDS elemental mapping analysis proved the novelty of the green synthesis approach in synthesizing a copper-doped ZnO NCs with good dopant distribution. The crystallinity and ZnO bandgap were adjusted by extrinsic copper doping in the ZnO lattice. The optical property adjustments from 3.04 to 2.97 eV for indirect Kubelka-Munk functions were confirmed from DRS-UV-vis analysis. The dopant inclusion in the host lattice was also confirmed by the angle shift on the XRD pattern analysis relative to single ZnO. In addition to doping, the XRD pattern analysis also showed the development of CuO crystals. The lattice fringe values from HRTEM analysis confirmed the existence of both CuO and ZnO crystals with local heterojunctions. Doping and heterojunctions have crucial values in charge transfer and visible light harvesting behaviour, as proved by the PL analysis. The synergistic effects of the doped NCs showed greater antibacterial activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria as a result of more ROS generation through the bacteria-cell-catalyst interaction and release of metal ions. The antioxidant potential of the doped NCs was found to be higher than that of single NPs, using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl free radical scavenging assay and is expected to impart protective effects to the host cells by scavenging destructive free radicals. Thus, the overall analysis leads to the conclusion that the potentiality of synthesized materials has a future outlook for biological applications, especially in the development of antimicrobials to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria and microbes.