Graphene oxide (GO) is extensively proposed as an effective antibacterial agent in commercial product packaging and for various biomedical applications. However, the antibacterial mode of action of GO is yet hypothetical and unclear. Here we developed a new and sensitive fingerprint approach to study the antibacterial activity of GO and underlying mechanism, using Raman spectroscopy. Spectroscopic signatures obtained from biomolecules such as Adenine and proteins from bacterial cultures with different concentrations of GO, allowed us to probe the antibacterial activity of GO with its mechanism at the molecular level. Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis) were used as model micro-organisms for all the experiments performed. The observation of higher intensity Raman peaks from Adenine and proteins in GO treated E. coli and E. faecalis; correlated with induced death, confirmed by Scanning electron Microscopy (SEM) and Biological Atomic Force Microscopy (Bio-AFM). Our findings open the way for future investigations of the antibacterial properties of different nanomaterial/GO composites using Raman spectroscopy.
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