In the search for highly active and stable photocatalysts, significant efforts are devoted to find both new materials and innovative synthetic methods. In this study, an environmentally friendly and sustainable approach, dry reactive milling, was employed to synthesize two different semiconducting oxide nanomaterials, namely TiO2 and ZnO using polysaccharides as sacrificial templates. The as synthesized nanomaterials were characterized by powder X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, diffuse reflection UV-vis and Raman spectroscopy, and N2 adsorption tests. Their photocatalytic activity was tested in ethanol degradation, followed by gas chromatographic analysis. Photoelectrochemical measurements were performed to assess the optoelectronic properties and the antimicrobial activity of these photocatalysts was also tested under visible light irradiation. Overall, we found that the performance of the synthesized nanomaterials was comparable to the benchmark P25 EVONIK titania, with ZnO exhibiting a remarkably superior antibacterial activity against E. coli.
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