Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Superbug Resistance to Antimicrobial Nanosilver

By Cindy Gunawan & Christopher P. Marquis

A group of widely-occurring bacteria has been able to overcome the antimicrobial activity of nanosilver upon prolonged exposure.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

We are and always have been at constant war against pathogens, not only in extreme situations such as epidemics but also on a daily basis. Along the way we have encountered a vast number of antimicrobial agents, each with unique target microorganisms and potency. These antimicrobials range from natural forms of disinfectant, such as moulds and plant extracts, to more sophisticated engineered chemicals including antiviral drugs.

Antimicrobial nanosilver is one of the earliest and most developed products of nanotechnology. Nanosilver is a versatile antimicrobial agent with proven efficacy against a broad range of microorganisms, including bacteria, yeast, fungi, algae and even viruses.

The disinfecting properties of silver have been known and employed since ancient times, most commonly to disinfect water and food in storage. We now see the incorporation of nanosilver as the core antimicrobial ingredient in consumer products ranging from wound dressings and antibacterial textiles to water and air purification systems, coatings in food packaging and even in baby products.

Using nanotechnology, the antimicrobial properties of silver are harnessed by manipulating the physicochemical characteristics. Silver in its nano form (less than 100 nm – or ten-thousandths of a millimetre) is many times more potent than the much larger “bulk” silver. It is more...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.