Silver nanoparticles continue to show promise for killing bacteria, especially in a hospital environment. Now a Swiss team has shown that a combination of silver and calcium phosphate nanoparticles provides an even more effective nanotech antiseptic. From Nanowerk News “New nanoparticle film up to 1000 times more effective at killing E. coli bacteria“:
Chemical Engineers in Switzerland have created a plastic film that’s up to 1000 times more effective at killing E. coli bacteria cells than conventional methods.
The team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich have discovered that coating the film with a mix of silver and calcium phosphate nano-particles proves deadly to bacteria.
Wendelin Stark, a chemical engineer and leader of the project explained that it had been previously impossible to apply silver in a targeted and measured way. However, by using a film and applying the silver to the calcium phosphate, he believes the problem has been overcome: “Within 24 hours of the plastic film being applied to a surface, less than 1 bacterium out of 1 million bacteria will survive.”
Because bacteria rely on calcium for their metabolism, the 20-50 nanometer calcium phosphate particles are used by the micro-organisms as nutrition. When the bacteria consume the calcium phosphate, this releases thousands of small silver 1-2 nanometer particles. It’s these tiny silver particles that kill the bacteria and prevent germs from growing and spreading.
The polymer film only emits silver if bacteria are growing in the vicinity.
The research was published in Small (abstract).