Research – Inhibitory Effect against Listeria monocytogenes of Carbon Nanoparticles Loaded with Copper as Precursors of Food Active Packaging


Human listeriosis is a serious foodborne disease of which outbreaks are occurring increasingly frequently in Europe. Around the world, different legal requirements exist to guarantee food safety. Nanomaterials are increasingly used in the food industry as inhibitors of pathogens, and carbon nanomaterials are among the most promising. In the present study, novel carbon nanoparticles loaded with copper (CNP-Cu) were prepared, and their antimicrobial activity against Listeria monocytogenes was assessed. CNPs of two sizes were synthesized and characterized by dynamic light scattering (DLS), electrophoretic light scattering (ELS) and electron microscopy (EM). The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of CNP-Cu was determined in accordance with the available standard. To get insights into its mechanism of action, the release of copper ions into a cell media was assessed by inductively coupled plasma optical emission (ICP-OE), and the ability of loaded CNPs to generate cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) was evaluated by EPR spectroscopy. Finally, the extent of release of copper in a food simulant was assessed. The results demonstrated the antimicrobial effectiveness of CNP-Cu, with growth inhibition up to 85% and a release of copper that was more pronounced in an acidic food simulant. Overall, the results indicate CNP-Cu as a promising agent for the design of active food packaging which is able to improve food shelf-life.

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