Photodynamic Inactivation of Microbial Pathogens: Medical and Environmental Applications
Chapter 6: Fullerene Derivatives as Antimicrobial Photosensitizing Agents
Published:06 Jun 2011
M. Elisa Milanesio and E. N. Durantini, in Photodynamic Inactivation of Microbial Pathogens: Medical and Environmental Applications, ed. M. R. Hamblin and G. Jori, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2011, vol. 11, ch. 6, pp. 161-184.
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Fullerenes have attracted considerable attention in different fields of science since their discovery in 1985. Fullerenes are closed-cage molecules entirely composed of sp2-hybridized carbon atoms and due to their extended π-conjugation they absorb visible light. They have a high triplet excited state yield and can generate reactive oxygen species upon irradiation. Their unique carbon cage structure coupled with immense scope for derivatization make them a potential phototherapeutic agent in medicinal chemistry. The lack of solubility in biological environments is the major obstacle in the development of this field. However, when fullerene C60 is derivatized with functional groups it forms molecules that are more water-soluble and therefore able to interact with biological systems. Thus, photodynamic reactions induced by fullerenes have shown to inactivate viruses, bacteria and fungal. In particular, cationic fullerenes can selectively bind to microbial cells, inducing an efficient photoinactivation of pathogenic microorganisms. The mechanism of action appears to involve superoxide anion radical as well as singlet molecular oxygen formation. The investigations have indicated that fullerene derivatives are very interesting molecular architecture with potential applications as antimicrobial photosensitising agents.