Silica-Based Antibacterial, Antifungal Nanoformulation

  • Copper (Cu)-based antibacterial/antifungal nanoformulation effectively treats citrus canker
  • Offers safe, long-term plant protection and added nutrients to the soil
  • Inhibits mold and mildew growth for non-agricultural purposes

The University of Central Florida invention is a nanoformulation for treating and preventing plant diseases, such as citrus canker, and adding nutrients to soil used for agricultural purposes. Additionally, the invention can protect against mold and mildew in homes and a variety of products (such as fabrics, leather, plastics and paint).

Plant diseases worldwide result in billions of dollars of annual crop losses. Consequently, resistance to antibacterial and antifungal agents is a key agricultural concern. To address pathogen resistance, UCF researchers have developed a more robust antibacterial/antifungal (Anti-B/F) formulation. Compared to other designs, the UCF nanotechnology offers an inexpensive, easy-to-manufacture, copper-loaded, silica-based nanoformulation (CuSiNP/NG). By releasing copper in non-toxic quantities over an extended period, the design keeps the environment safe and eliminates the need for multiple applications. Thus, the invention provides treatment and long-term protection against pathogens while minimizing phytotoxic side effects.

Technical Details

The UCF invention comprises the following:

A composition for a Cu-loaded silica-based nanoformulation of nanoparticles (SiNPs) and/or silica-based nanogels (SiNGs) to provide a unique nano environment for hosting antibacterial and antifungal agents. The source of the copper ions can be, for example, copper oxide, copper oxychloride, copper sulfate, or copper hydroxide.
A method for synthesizing the nanoformulation using a one-pot, acid-catalyzed, sol-gel process under ambient temperatures and pressures. The simple, water-based synthesis protocol is scalable to industrial production and requires no purification steps. It can be prepared on-site, in a few hours, and easily diluted by a non-technical person for field applications.
A method for applying the composition to treat citrus plant diseases such as citrus canker and other diseases caused by the bacteria Xanthomonas.
Effective for at least six months, the CuSiNP/NG nanoformulation not only combats plant diseases but also inhibits the growth of mold and mildew. The technology slowly releases ionic Cu in a sustained manner and in quantities that meet EPA water quality standards for copper. Additionally, the nanoformulation provides residual fertilizing properties for soil. When leaves and branches of plants treated with the nanoformulation drop to the ground, they continue to release Cu nutrients. Example applications include agriculture (vegetables, flowers, grass and other plants), and household applications (fabrics, leather, plastics, paint).

Contact Information

Name: Raju Nagaiah


Phone: 407.882.0593