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Researchers from Islamic Azad University and Tehran University of Medical Sciences in association with researchers from the University of California discovered various effects of different types of silver nanoparticles on bacteria and their anti-bacterial properties.
Anti-microbial and antibacterial effects of silver are known to everyone. However, different papers have presented contradictory results about the antibacterial effects of silver nanoparticles, including the potential toxicity of silver nanoparticles when they interact with various types of bacteria.
It is well known at the moment that the surfaces of nanomaterials are immediately covered with protein when they are in contact with a live tissue. The formation of protein corona in the surface of nanoparticles creates a new biological identity in biological media, which determines cellular/tissue responses.
This research investigated the anti-microbial properties of silver nanostructures with different shapes against the three types of bacteria including E. coli, bacillus subtilis, staphylococcus aureus, and the results confirmed the important effect of bacteria on the performance of nanoparticles. The toxicity of similar amount of each of the nanoparticles types was studied in each bacterium, and the results showed that each bacterium gave a different response to each of the nanoparticles. The researchers claim that the significant differences in bacteria membrane composition are the cause of various toxicity results.
Protein corona composition was finally studied in details on the surface of nanoparticles. Results showed that proteins have much more tendency to join the sharp edges in nanoparticles surface rather than to join the flat surfaces. In addition, the both proteins (with high molecular weight and low molecular weight) have more tendencies towards sharp surfaces rather than sphere and wire.
Results of the research have been published in May 2012 in Chemical Research in Toxicology, vol. 25, issue 6. For more information about the details of the research, visit the full paper on pages 1231-1242 of the same journal.
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