Sunday, 30 August 2015

Nanoscale antimicrobials

North Carolina State University researchers have developed an effective and environmentally benign method to combat bacteria by engineering nanoscale particles that add the antimicrobial potency of silver to a core of lignin, a ubiquitous substance found in all plant cells. The findings introduce ideas for better, greener and safer nanotechnology and could lead to enhanced efficiency of antimicrobial products used in agriculture and personal care.
In a study published in Nature Nanotechnology, NC State engineer Orlin Velev and colleagues show that silver-ion infused lignin nanoparticles, which are coated with a charged polymer layer that helps them adhere to the target microbes, effectively kill a broad swath of bacteria, including E. coli and other harmful microorganisms.

As the nanoparticles wipe out the targeted bacteria, they become depleted of silver. The remaining particles degrade easily after disposal because of their biocompatible lignin core, limiting the risk to the environment.

The researchers used the nanoparticles to attack Escherichia coli, a bacterium that causes food poisoning; Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common disease-causing bacterium; Ralstonia, a genus of bacteria containing numerous soil-borne pathogen species; and Staphylococcus epidermis, a bacterium that can cause harmful biofilms on plastics — like catheters — in the human body. The nanoparticles were effective against all the bacteria.

For further details see “An environmentally benign antimicrobial nanoparticle based on a silver-infused lignin core” - Nature Nanotechnology (2015)DOI: doi:10.1038/nnano.2015.141

Posted by Tim Sandle