CATALYSTS, vol.12, no.11, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
Nitrogen-doped arginine carbon dots (Arg CDs) as light-sensitive antibacterial agents were prepared by using citric acid as the carbon source and arginine amino acid as the nitrogen source via a microwave-assisted synthesis method. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements and TEM images revealed that the Arg CDs were in the 1-10 nm size range with a graphitic structure. To improve their antibacterial capability, the Arg CDs were modified with ethyleneimine (EDA), pentaethylenehexamine (PEHA), and polyethyleneimine (PEI) as different amine sources, and the zeta potential value of +2.8 +/- 0.6 mV for Arg CDs was increased to +34.4 +/- 4.1 mV for PEI-modified Arg CDs. The fluorescence intensity of the Arg CDs was significantly enhanced after the modification with EDA, and the highest antibacterial effect was observed for the PEI-modified Arg CDs. Furthermore, the photodynamic antibacterial capacity of bare and EDA-modified Arg CDs was determined upon light exposure to show their light-induced antibacterial effects. Photoexcited (315-400 nm, UVA, 300 W), EDA-modified Arg CDs at 5 mg/mL concentration were found to inhibit about 49 +/- 7% of pathogenic bacteria, e.g., Escherichia coli, with 5 min of light exposure. Furthermore, the biocompatibilities of the bare and modified Arg CDs were also investigated with blood compatibility tests via hemolysis and blood clotting assays and cytotoxicity analysis on L929 fibroblast cells.