Adsorption of gentamicin on surfactant-kaolinite and its antibacterial activity


  • Lim Chai Hui
  • Nik Ahmad Nizam Nik Malek Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
  • Muhammad Zulhilmi Amir Awaluddin
  • Muhammad Hariz Asraf
  • Siti Nabihan Ishak
  • Atieya Abdul Hadi



Antibacterial, gentamicin, kaolinite, organo-clay


Kaolinite is a common component of soils. It was found that the negatively charged kaolinite can act as an adsorbent material and it has the ability to adsorb antimicrobial agents. In this study, natural local kaolinite was used to adsorb gentamicin and cationic surfactant molecules as an improved antimicrobial agent. The gentamicin-loaded surfactant-kaolinite (GSK) was prepared by the attachment of cationic surfactant hexadecyltrimethyl ammonium (HDTMA) 4.0 mM on raw kaolinite creating surfactant-kaolinite (SK) and then, loaded with gentamicin sulphate (50 and 200 mg/L). Gentamicin-loaded kaolinite (GK) was also prepared and compared. All samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and CHNS elemental analysis. The characterization results proved that the framework structure of kaolinite was not disrupted after undergoing modification with the antimicrobial agents. The antibacterial activity of the samples was tested against Gram negative Escherichia coli (ATCC 11229) and Gram positive Enterococcus faecalis (ATCC 29212) through disc diffusion technique (DDT). In this test, raw kaolinite only exhibited antibacterial activity when HDTMA and/or gentamicin were loaded on kaolinite. In addition, GSK showed better antibacterial activity compared to GK and it performed better against Gram-positive bacteria compared to Gram-negative bacteria. As conclusion, the immobilization of HDTMA on kaolinite proved that the kaolinite can act as an adsorbent to adsorb antibiotics and it has the potential to be developed as an enhanced antimicrobial agent.

Author Biography

Nik Ahmad Nizam Nik Malek, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nik Ahmad Nizam Nik Malek, PhD, CChem, MRSC, MMIC
BSc (Ind. Chem), MSc (Chem), PhD (Chem)(UTM), CChem, MRSC, MMICAssociate Professor,Department of Biosciences,
Faculty of Science,
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM),
81310 UTM Johor, Malaysia


Aziz, M. S. A, Malek, N. A. N. N., Ishak, S. N., Asraf, M. H., Hadi, A. A., Awaluddin, M. Z. A. 2018. Simultaneous action of surfactant modified clinoptilolite: Adsorbent of dyes and antibacterial agent. Malaysian Journal of Fundamental and Applied Sciences, Special Issue on Natural Sciences and Mathematics (ESCon 2018), 477-481.

Balouiri, M., Sadiki, M., Ibnsouda, S. K. 2016. Methods for in vitro evaluating antimicrobial activity: A review. Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis, 6(2), 71-79.

Block, S. S. 2001. Disinfection, sterilization, and preservation. Florida: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Dos Santos, A., Viante, M. F., Pochapski, D. J., Downs, A. J., Almeida, C. A. P. 2018. Enhanced removal of p-nitrophenol from aqueous media by montmorillonite clay modified with a cationic surfactant. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 355, 136-144.

Essington, M., Lee, J., Seo, Y. 2010. Adsorption of antibiotics by montmorillonite and kaolinite. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 74(5), 1577-1588.

Jou, S. K., Malek, N. A. N. N. 2016. Characterization and antibacterial activity of chlorhexidine loaded silver-kaolinite. Applied Clay Science, 127-128, 1-9.

Kemper, N. 2008. Veterinary antibiotics in the aquatic and terrestrial environment. Ecological indicators, 8(1), 1-13.

Malek, N. A. N. N., Awaluddin, M. Z. A. Mohamed, A. A. 2018. Organo-clay loaded sulphonamide as antibacterial agent. In Malek, N. A. N. N. (Ed). Progress in applied materials science (pp. 81-100). Johor Bahru: Penerbit UTM Press.

Malek, N. A. N. N., Ramli, N. I. A. 2015. Characterization and antibacterial activity of cetylpyridinium bromide (CPB) immobilized on kaolinite with different CPB loadings. Applied Clay Science, 109-110, 8-14.

McDonnell, G., Russell, A. D. 1999. Antiseptics and disinfectants: activity, action, and resistance. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 12(1), 147-179.

Moazed, D., Noller, H. F. 1987. Interaction of antibiotics with functional sites in 16S ribosomal RNA. Nature, 327(6121), 389.

Nakashima, T., Teranishi, M., Hibi, T., Kobayashi, M., Umemura, M. 2000. Vestibular and cochlear toxicity of aminoglycosides-a review. Acta oto-laryngologica, 120(8), 904-911.

Ojdana, D., Sieńko, A., Sacha, P., Majewski, P., Wieczorek, P., Wieczorek, A., Tryniszewska, E. 2018. Genetic basis of enzymatic resistance of E. coli to aminoglycosides. Advances in Medical Sciences, 63(1), 9-13.

Özdemir, G., Limoncu, M. H., Yapar, S. 2010. The antibacterial effect of heavy metal and cetylpridinium-exchanged montmorillonites. Applied Clay Science, 48(3), 319-323.

Panda, A. K., Mishra, B. G., Mishra, D. K., Singh, R. K. 2010. Effect of sulphuric acid treatment on the physico-chemical characteristics of kaolin clay. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 363(1-3), 98-104.

Pavlukhina, S., Zhuk, I., Mentbayeva, A., Rautenberg, E., Chang, W., Yu, X., Belt-Gritter, B. V. D., Busscher, H. J., Van Der Mei, H. C., Sukhishvili, S. A. 2014. Small-molecule-hosting nanocomposite films with multiple bacteria-triggered responses. Npg Asia Materials, 6(8), 121.

Rapacz-Kmita, A., Bućko, M., Stodolak-Zych, E., Mikołajczyk, M., Dudek, P., Trybus, M. 2017. Characterisation, in vitro release study, and antibacterial activity of montmorillonite-gentamicin complex material. Materials Science and Engineering: C, Materials for Biological Applications, 70, 471-478.

Saad, N. S. S. M., Malek, N. A. N. N., Chong, C. S. 2016. Antimicrobial activity of copper kaolinite and surfactant modified copper kaolinite against gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Jurnal Teknologi, 78(3-2), 127-132.

Woodcock, J., Moazed, D., Cannon, M., Davies, J., Noller, H. 1991. Interaction of antibiotics with A‐and P‐site‐specific bases in 16S ribosomal RNA. The EMBO Journal, 10(10), 3099-3103.

Wu, Q., Li, Z., Hong, H. 2013. Adsorption of the quinolone antibiotic nalidixic acid onto montmorillonite and kaolinite. Applied Clay Science, 74, 66-73.

Wu, T., Xie, A.-G., Tan, S.-Z., Cai, X. 2011. Antimicrobial effects of quaternary phosphonium salt intercalated clay minerals on Escherichia coli and Staphylococci aureus. ‎Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 86(1), 232-236.

Wu, W.-J., Sha, S.-H., Schacht, J. 2002. Recent advances in understanding aminoglycoside ototoxicity and its prevention. Audiology and Neurotology, 7(3), 171-174.

Xu, Z., Xu, X., Yang, L., Li, B., Li, L., Li, X., Chen, D. 2017. Effect of aminoglycosides on the pathogenic characteristics of microbiology. Microbial Pathogenesis, 113, 357-364.

Young, R., Hewat, A. 1988. Verification of the triclinic crystal structure of kaolinite. Clays and Clay Minerals, 36(3), 225.