TICPOL: Biocidal nanoparticulate titania/carbon-polymer systems for water disinfection

Anna Kubacka holds a PhD in Chemical Sciences from the Institute of Catalysis and Surface Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Krakow, Poland, 2004). After completing her PhD, she completed a post-doctoral stay at the Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry of CSIC (2005-2006) and subsequently enjoyed the I3P (2007-2010) and Ramón y Cajal (2010-2015) post-doctoral contracts at the same centre. She has directed or is directing 3 R&D research projects. She is co-author of seventy-eight SCI articles, five book chapters, five patents, and editor of a special issue of the journal Appl. Catal. A. She has supervised a doctoral thesis (2015) and two master’s theses (2012 and 2013). The results of her research have been presented at 60 international and national conferences. She is a regular reviewer for 14 SCI journals. ComFuturo Researcher (I edition) in the line of research of the programme “Nanoparticulate biocides for water disinfection“. She developed, in the Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry of CSIC, her project “Biocidal nanoparticulate titania/carbon-polymer systems for water disinfection”.

Project Summary

The project proposes the use of inorganic nanoparticulate biocide systems based on titania/carbon combinations with morphological/structural control for the elimination of microorganisms in water. The aim is to assemble them with various polymer materials, particularly the development and synthesis of multifunctional magnetite-polymer-titania/carbon systems or the inclusion of the biocidal component in asymmetric pore membranes. Both types of materials are designed according to their use in the relevant operating conditions and have in common: (i) reduced toxicity in relation to both the components used and their absence from the medium after use; (ii) the use of diverse and renewable energy sources (particularly the full use, from the UV to the IR component, of the sun); (iii) universal application, without limitations with respect to the nature of the microorganism or their presence in the form of biofilms; (iv) of demonstrable effectiveness and longevity; and (v) of potential application in the complete (chemical and biological) decontamination of waters. The project seeks to utilise the potential of such multi-component nanocomposite systems and is based on a stepwise strategy based on 1) the use of modern synthesis methods together with an orderly design of the materials and 2) the measurement and modelling of the biocidal properties of the systems under relevant conditions for the establishment of “structure-activity” relationships, which allow the understanding and future improvement of the systems. The aim is to develop new systems with scientific objectives related not only to their novelty and the understanding of their biocidal properties but also to develop a technological base, especially within MBR (“membrane bioreactor”) type schemes, providing an answer to the two most serious problems of this technology: biofouling and the treatment of retained material.


The development and application of the proposed biocide systems for water disinfection – versatile, stable, and environmentally friendly, as well as potentially more efficient and “cleaner” than the current ones – will improve the quality of life in poor countries and remote places, as well as in developed areas and large urban agglomerations.

Scientific production derived from the ComFuturo Project

Scientific articles


  • U. Caudillo-Flores; M.J. Muñoz-Batista; A. Kubacka; M. Fernandez-Garcia (2018). Operando Spectroscopy in Photocatalysis (minireview), CHEMPHOTOCHEM. DOI: 10.1002/cptc.201800117


  • A. Kubacka; M.J. Muñoz-Batista; M. Ferrer; M. Fernandez-Garcia (2018). Er-W codoping of TiO2-anatase: Structural and electronic characterization and disinfection capability under UV–vis, and near-IR excitation. APPLIED CATALYSIS B: ENVIRONMENTAL. DOI: 10.1016/ j.apcatb. 2018.01.064


  • M.J. Muñoz-Batista; O. Fontelles-Carceller; A. Kubacka; M. Fernández-García (2016). Effect of exfoliation and surface deposition of MnOx species in g-C3N4: toluene photo-degradation under UV and Visible light. APPLIED CATALYSIS B: ENVIRONMENTAL. DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2016.10.044M


  • M.Muñoz-Batista; O. Fontelles; M. Ferrer; M. Fernández-García; A. Kubacka (2016). Desinfection capability of Ag-g-C3N4 composite photocatalysts under UV and Visible Light Illumination. APPLIED CATALYSIS B: ENVIRONMENTAL. DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2015.10.024


  • O. Fontelles-Carceller; M. Muñoz-Batista; M. Fernández-García; A. Kubacka (2016). Interface Effects in Sunlight-Driven Ag/g-C3N4 Composite Catalysts: Study of the Toluene Photodegradation Quantum Efficiency. ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.5b10434


  • A. Muñoz-Bonilla; A. Kubacka; M. Fernández-García; M. Ferrer; M. Fernández-García; M.L. Cerrada (2015). Visible and ultraviolet antibacterial behavior in PVDF-TiO2 nanocomposite. EUROPEAN POLYMER JOURNAL. DOI: 10.1016/j.eurpolymj.2015.08.020


 Works presented at conferences

  • A. Kubacka; M. Munoz-Batista; M. Ferrer; M. Fernandez-Garcia. W-doping and Surface deposition of g-C3N4 in Anatase-TiO2: Building-up a UV-Vis-NIR Broadband Material for Disinfection. 10th European Meeting on Solar Chemistry and Photocatalysis: Environmental Applications (SPEA10). Poster. Almería, Spain. 04/06/2018-08/06/2018


Registered patent applications

  • M.J. Muñoz-Batista; M. Ferrer; M. Fernández-García; A. Kubacka (2017). “Sistema fotocatalítico basado en TiO2 dopado y su uso como biocida”. Application number: P201730098. See brochure