We investigate the antibacterial effect of ultrafine nanodiamond particles with an average size of 5 nm against the gram-negative bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli). UV-visible, Raman spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) have been employed to elucidate the nature of the interaction. The influence on bacterial growth was monitored by measuring optical densities of E. coli at 600 nm as a function of time in the presence of carboxylated nanodiamond (cND) particles () in highly nutritious liquid Luria–Bertani medium. The SEM images prove that cND particles are attached to the bacterial cell wall surface and some portion of the bacterial cell wall undergoes destruction. Due to the change of the protein structure on the bacterial wall, a small Raman shift in the region of 1400 to was observed when E. coli interacted with cNDs. Raman mapping images show strong evidence of cND attachment at the bacterial cell wall surface. Electrotransformation of E. coli with a fluorescent protein markers experiment demonstrated that the interaction mechanisms are different for E. coli treated with cND particles, E. coli by lysozyme treatment, and E. coli that suffer lysis.