Comparison of bactericidal activities of silver nanoparticles with common chemical disinfectants. Academic Article uri icon


  • Engineered nanomaterials display significant advantages due to their unique nanostructure, along with their tuneable properties for the designed application. Silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) have drawn attention due to their use as potent bactericidal agents and were characterized in this research to provide an understanding of the interaction between nanomaterials and bacteria. This work presents the bactericidal performance of Ag-NPs using Escherichia coli (E. coli) as a model microorganism. Several state-of-the-art techniques, such as high-angle annular dark-field detector in scanning transmission electron microscopy, and energy filtered imaging in electron energy loss spectroscopy, were employed to obtain nanostructural and elemental information. The bactericidal activities of Ag-NPs were then compared with two commonly used disinfectants, sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) and phenol (C(6)H(5)OH). These two chemical disinfectants exhibited rapid bactericidal activity, showing a minimal bactericidal concentration (MBC) of 16 parts-per-million (ppm) and 16 part-per-thousand (ppth), respectively for NaClO and C(6)H(5)OH within about 10 min. In contrast, Ag-NPs exhibit slow but long-term bactericidal effect demonstrating MBCs of 0.6 parts-per-million (ppm) within 6h when used as disinfectant. An advantage using Ag-NPs to inactivate E coli at low dosages is negligible environmental waste or hazardous by-products. The results showed that Ag-NPs caused bacterial inactivation by a mechanism involving several steps, including cell wall and cytoplasmic membrane damage.

published proceedings

  • Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces

author list (cited authors)

  • Chamakura, K., Perez-Ballestero, R., Luo, Z., Bashir, S., & Liu, J

publication date

  • January 1, 2011 11:11 AM