Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; UNESCO-UNISA Africa Chair in Nanosciences-Nanotechnology, College of Graduate Studies, University of South Africa, Muckleneuk ridge, South Africa; Nanosciences African Network (NANOAFNET), iThemba LABS-National Research Foundation, 1 Old Faure road, Somerset West, PO Box 722, 7129, Somerset West, South Africa. Electronic address: [Email]
Zea mays L. dry husk extract was used to bio synthesize copper oxide nanoparticles. Red coloured cubic Cu2O nanoparticles were obtained for the first time via this simple, eco- friendly, green synthesis route. The Cu2O nanoparticles were thermally oxidized to pure monoclinic CuO nanoparticles at 600 °C. The phases of the copper oxides were confirmed from the x-ray diffraction (XRD) studies. The nanoparticle sizes as obtained from high resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM) analysis range from 10 to 26 nm, 36-73 nm and 30-90 nm for the unannealed Cu2O, 300 °C and 600 °C annealed CuO respectively. The values of the bandgap energies obtained from diffuse reflectance of the nanoparticles are 2.0, 1.30 and 1.42 eV respectively for the unannealed, 300 °C, and 600 °C annealed copper oxide nanoparticles. The 600 °C annealed copper oxide nanoparticles showed 91% and 90% degradation ability for methylene blue dye (BM) and textile effluent (TE) respectively under visible light irradiation. While CuO_300 is more effective to inhibit the growth of Escherichia coli 518,133 and Staphylococcus aureus 9144, Cu2O is better for Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Bacillus licheniformis. The results confirm the photo-catalytic and anti-microbial effectiveness of the copper oxide nanoparticles.