(306c) Photoexcited Quantum Dots for Killing Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria

Nagpal, P., University of Colorado Boulder
Courtney, C., University of Colorado Boulder
Goodman, S., University of Colorado Boulder
Chatterjee, A., University of Colorado Boulder
Multidrug-resistant bacterial infections are an ever-growing threat because of the shrinking arsenal of efficacious antibiotics. Metal nanoparticles can induce cell death, yet the toxicity effect is typically nonspecific. Here, we show that photoexcited quantum dots (QDs) can kill a wide range of multidrug-resistant bacterial clinical isolates, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, carbapenem-resistant Escherichia coli, and extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae and Salmonella typhimurium. The killing effect is independent of material and controlled by the redox potentials of the photogenerated charge carriers, which selectively alter the cellular redox state. We also show that the QDs can be tailored to kill 92% of bacterial cells in a monoculture, and in a co-culture of E. coli and HEK 293T cells, while leaving the mammalian cells intact, or to increase bacterial proliferation. Photoexcited QDs could be used in the study of the effect of redox states on living systems, and lead to clinical phototherapy for the treatment of infections.