Antibacterial silver nanoparticles are a blast

May 24, 2010

Writing in the International Journal of Nanoparticles, Rani Pattabi and colleagues at Mangalore University, explain how blasting silver nitrate solution with an electron beam can generate nanoparticles that are more effective at killing all kinds of bacteria, including gram-negative species that are not harmed by conventional antibacterial agents.

Your running shoes, socks and even computer keyboard may be impregnated with silver nanoparticles that can kill some bacteria, keep you smelling sweet and preventing the spread of infection among computer users. Researchers in India point out that silver nanoparticles are not only antibacterial against so-called gram-positive bacteria, such as of Staphylococcus aureus and but, also against gram-negative Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Bacterial resistance to conventional antibiotics is threatening human health the world over. Medicinal chemists are desperately trying to develop new compounds that can kill strains such as MRSA (methicillin, or multiple-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and E. coli O157. Frontline defenses, such as environmentally benign and cost-effective antibacterial compounds could prevent such infective agents spreading through contact with computer keyboard, phones and other devices.

Silver has been known to have antibacterial properties since ancient times. A modern technological twist means it has come to the fore for a wide range of applications because of the emergence of resistance to antibacterial gels. As such a new industry involving the production of bacteriostatic agents, including silver nanoparticles, has emerged.

Researchers have been experimenting with radiation to split silver compounds, releasing that then clump together to form nanoparticles. The incentive lies in the fact that such an approach avoids the need for costly and hazardous reducing agents and can be fine-tuned to produce nanoparticles of a controlled size, which is important for controlling their properties. Pattabi and colleagues have used technology to irradiate silver nitrate solutions in a biocompatible polymer, polyvinyl alcohol, to form their silver nanoparticles.

Preliminary tests show that nanoparticles produced by this straightforward, non-toxic method are highly active against S. aureus, E. coli, and P. aeruginosa.

Explore further: Nanocontainers for nanocargo: Delivering genes and proteins for cellular imaging, genetic medicine and cancer therapy

More information: "Antibacterial potential of silver nanoparticles synthesised by electron beam irradiation", in Int. J. Nanoparticles, 2010, 3, 53-64

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User comments : 4

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jimbo92107
not rated yet May 24, 2010
And what happens to natural, beneficial bacteria when all these silver nanoparticles enter the waste stream? We need some kind of ecological oversight of these new technologies. Simply churning out new substances into the environment is horribly irresponsible and potentially disastrous.
Shootist
1 / 5 (2) May 24, 2010
And what happens to natural, beneficial bacteria when all these silver nanoparticles enter the waste stream? We need some kind of ecological oversight of these new technologies. Simply churning out new substances into the environment is horribly irresponsible and potentially disastrous.


Silver oxidizes fairly quickly. I do not believe silver (x)oxide is bio-active. You also have to consider that metals such as gold, platinum and silver already attain "nano" size in nature. I prospect for gold as a hobby and often most of the gold returned by panning or sluicing is smaller than 10 microns.
Shootist
1 / 5 (2) May 24, 2010
Sorry, I thought I edited the above comment, but it double posted.
CarolinaScotsman
1 / 5 (1) May 24, 2010
So what they're saying is that silver nanoparticles are the silver bullet of anti-bacterial agents?