Seminar Series 79: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nik Ahmad Nizam Nik Malek

Event date and time: Postponed until further notice.

Event location: Al-Dinawari Seminar Hall, Block T02, Faculty of Science, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

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Development of antibacterial agents: metal-loaded kaolinite and zeolite

Nik Ahmad Nizam Nik Malek 

Centre for Sustainable Nanomaterials, Ibnu Sina Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Skudai, Johor, Malaysia


Metal ions such as silver (Ag+), copper (Cu2+) and zinc (Zn2+) are used as antibacterial agents against wide spectrum of bacteria. They are applied in household products and as active ingredients in cosmetic to prevent the bacterial growth. However, the release of metal ions to the environment especially into surface and groundwater creates environmental pollution that can harms aquatic life and human. Therefore, one alternative approach is by immobilizing the metal ions on a suitable carrier system such as immobilization on zeolites or kaolinites framework structure. Kaolinite and zeolite are unique inorganic materials having aluminium silicate structure that can be used as a carrier system for antibacterial metal ions. The information of the properties of raw kaolinite and zeolite are important to be analysed to maximize the potential usage of these materials in loading with these antibacterial metal ions. The loading of these ions onto the kaolinite and zeolites involves ion exchanged mechanism without distorting the original structure of the material. Due to this mechanism, the antibacterial activity of the metal-loaded kaolinite and zeolites is based on the release of these ions and subsequently, the antibacterial activity is performed by these metal ions. There are many ways to improve the characteristics of kaolinite and zeolites such as treatment of the materials with acids or bases to increase their cation exchange capacity (CEC), tune the properties of zeolites during its synthesis process and combination with other antibacterial agents. The metal-loaded kaolinite and zeolites can be applied in various fields such as for wound treatment, antibacterial coating, antibiofouling paints, biomaterials etc. By applying this material, the high usage of metal ions as antibacterial agent could be reduced and avoid its release to environment which eventually, lowering the risks to aquatic life, human and environment.