Recent outbreaks of bacterial infection leading to human fatalities have been a motivational force for us to develop antibacterial agents with high potency and long-term stability. A novel cobalt (Co) based metal-organic framework (MOF) was tested and shown to be highly effective at inactivating model microorganisms. Gram-negative bacteria, Escherichia coli (strains DH5alpha and XL1-Blue) were selected to determine the antibacterial activities of the Co MOF. In this MOF, the Co serves as a central element and an octa-topic carboxylate ligand, tetrakis [(3,5-dicarboxyphenyl)-oxamethyl] methane (TDM8−) serves as a bridging linker. X-ray crystallographic studies indicate that Co-TDM crystallizes in tetragonal space group P21m with a porous 3D framework.
The potency of the Co-TDM disinfectant was evaluated using a minimal bactericidal concentration (MBC) benchmark and was determined to be 10–15 ppm within a short incubation time period (<60 min). Compared with previous work using silver nanoparticles and silver-modified TiO2 nano- composites over the same time period, the MBC and effectiveness of Co-TDM are superior. Electron microscopy images indicate that the Co-TDM displayed distinctive grain boundaries and well-developed reticulates. The Co active sites rapidly catalyzed the lipid peroxidation, causing rupture of the bacterial membrane followed by inactivation, with 100% recycling and high persistence (>4 weeks). This MOF-based approach may lead to a new paradigm for MOF applications in diverse biological fields due to their inherent porous structure, tunable surface functional groups, and adjustable metal coordination environments.