Surface engineering of TiO2-MWCNT nanocomposites towards tuning of functionalities and minimizing toxicity

Mojca Božič*, Irena Ban, Silvo Hribernik, Darinka Fakin, Karin Stana Kleinschek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: Multiwall carbon nanotubes were coupled with titanium dioxide (in different mole ratios of titanium and carbon) at the nano-scale, using a simple sonochemical and calcination process. The titanium dioxide-multiwall carbon nanotubes nanocomposites were for the first time surface modified with an innovative biotechnology-based reaction by using laccase to activate and covalently graft gallic acid dimers/oligomers/polymers on the nanocomposite surface in order to impart new functionalities and to minimize the nanocomposites’ toxicity. Structure of the titanium dioxide-multiwall carbon nanotubes, before and after surface modification, was investigated with X-ray powder diffraction, infrared, and UV-visible diffuse reflectance spectroscopy analysis, and scanning electron microscopy. The results indicated preferential formation of anatase titanium dioxide on one hand and covalent grafting of gallic acid dimers/oligomers/polymers functionalities on the nanocomposite surface, on the other. After modification, the antioxidant activity was analyzed using 2,2-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS) and photocatalytic activity toward the liquid-phase degradation of methylene blue in aqueous solution under both UV and visible light irradiation. Up to 98% antioxidant activity of the surface modified nanocomposites was established after 24 h of incubation, whereas non-modified nanocomposite induced the formation of the ABTS•+ radicals. In addition, 1.3-2.8-fold reduction in photocatalytic activity was achieved, depending on the irradiation. Accordingly, the gallic acid dimers/oligomers/polymers modified titanium dioxide-multiwall carbon nanotubes appear to simultaneously exhibit photocatalytic activity with an ability to scavenge free radicals, and can thus be considered as engineered nanoparticles with low toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-142
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant activity
  • Gallic acid
  • Laccase
  • Photocatalytic activity
  • Surface functionalization
  • TiO-Carbon Nanotube composites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomaterials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry


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