Antibacterial mechanisms and applications of metal-organic frameworks and their derived nanomaterials

Jianghua Liu, Di Wu, Niu Zhu, Yongning Wu, Guoliang Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Bacterial infection is one of the most serious threats to public health. Despite traditional antibiotics therapy provides an effective approach to combat pathogenic bacteria, the long-term use and overuse of antibiotics result in the evolution of bacteria with antibiotic resistance. Recent progress in nanotechnology offers novel opportunities to overcome the obstacle with independence of antibiotics. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have emerged as new tools to combat bacterial infection in biomedical and food packaging fields. Scope and approach: This review comprehensively summarizes the main antibacterial mechanisms of MOFs and their derived nanomaterials. Besides, the recent progress of MOFs and their derived nanomaterials as various antibacterial agents in biomedicine and food packaging is highlighted in detail (period 2016–2020). Meantime, the advantages and disadvantages of MOFs for antibacterial application are proposed. In the end, we discuss the current challenges and future development prospects to promote the further research of MOFs-based nanomaterials in antibacterial applications. Key findings and conclusions: MOFs are a class of crystalline porous materials with high surface areas, tunable porosity and flexible skeletons. Recently, MOFs and their derived nanomaterials, such as hybrid MOFs, MOFs membranes, nanozymes, single-atom nanozymes (SAzymes), etc. have attracted extensive attention due to their remarkable antibacterial activity. The superior antibacterial propertiers mainly rely on physical contact, metal ions and ligands, oxidative stress, photothermal effect and synergistic effect. Among the diverse forms and antibacterial mechanisms, hybridized and modified MOFs show enhanced or target-controlled antibacterial capacity, which will be more accurate and preferred in practical application. Additionally, the characters of easy modification, biocompatibility and biodegradability can facilitate the application of MOFs-based nanomaterials. Although employing MOFs and their derived nanomaterials as antibacterial agents is still in the preliminary stage and needs further exploration, it provides new avenues and displays great prospects in biomedicine and food packaging fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-434
Number of pages22
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32001792, 32061160474 and 32022069), and the special scientific research project of Education Department of Shaanxi Provincial Government (20JK0529).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Antibacterial application
  • Antibacterial mechanism
  • Biomedicine
  • Food packaging
  • Metal-organic frameworks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


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