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Silver Nanoparticles—A Powerful Disinfection Weapon in Daily Life

Silver has been found to have the antibacterial function for a long time and nowadays, silver nanoparticles are proved to be more powerful.

The antibacterial materials have been used since ancient times. People found that the water kept in silver and copper containers would not be deteriorated. Later, wealthy people of aristocracy began to eat with silver tableware. The idea ofantibacterial effects of silver seems to have a long history.

In fact, silver can decompose a very small amount of silver ions in water. These silver ions can absorb microorganisms in the water, so that the enzymes that the microorganisms rely on to breathe will lose their function, thereby the microorganisms are killed. The antibacterial effect of silver is beyond doubt.

Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) uses cutting-edge nanotechnology to nano-size silver. Nanometer (nm) is currently the smallest unit of measurement after the micrometer, and 1 nanometer is one millionth of a millimeter. The emergence of nanotechnology has made a qualitative leap in the bactericidal ability of silver in the nano-state.

Very little AgNPs can produce a powerful bactericidal effect, which can kill more than 650 bacteria in a few minutes. The broad-spectrum sterilization without any drug resistance can promote wound healing, cell growth and repair of damaged cell without any toxic reaction and irritation to the skin. What’s more, they have also showed good stability that they can be loaded on a carrier such as chitosan to continuously release zero-valent silver ions, maintain a relatively stable silver concentration, and achieve the purpose of long-lasting antibacterial.

These advantages have opened up a broad prospect for the widespread application of AgNPs used as the latest natural antibacterial agents, which is also a hot spot in the current research on antibacterial materials. The antibacterial characteristics of AgNPs are applied to every aspect of our daily life, and as a common antibacterial ingredient, they can be found in many daily necessities.

For example, some scalpels are covered with a layer of AgNPs with a thickness of 6 atoms arranged together, which has a good effect on killing common Escherichia coliand Neisseria gonorrhoeae. In addition, during the special period of COVID-19, Russian scientists claimed that materials that can kill bacteria and viruses can be used in masks to help deal with the SARS-CoV-2. The main component of this material is AgNP. The research team believes that this material can protect people from virus for up to 10 hours, while conventional masks need to be replaced every 1 to 2 hours.

The wide application of AgNPs has penetrated into all aspects of life, so let’s check out where it may appear to protect us:

· For space and medical antibacterial disinfection:

1. Environmental disinfection: hospitals, shopping malls, schools, waiting rooms, docks, Internet cafes, theaters, etc.

2. Disinfection of transportation vehicles: cars, trains, airplanes, ships, taxis and public transportation.

3. Antibacterial and bacteriostasis of human mucosal tissues: skin diseases (i.e. ringworm), gynecological diseases, ENT (rhinitis, otitis media), stomatology (gingivitis, periodontitis, oral ulcers, denture disinfection, etc.).

4 Sanitary materials: cotton balls, gauze, masks, surgical gowns, surgical utensils, and medical equipment.

· For production and breeding disinfection:

1. Food industry: disinfect the production environment, food packaging bags, and food transportation tools.

2. Family: kitchen and bathroom deodorization and deodorization, refrigerator deodorization and deodorization, kitchen utensils disinfection, restaurant deodorization.

3. Fabrics: antibacterial treatment for textiles and clothing, PU, leather, air-conditioning filters.

4. As supplements in manufacturing industry: antibacterial treatment on the surface of plastic parts, and metal surface coating.

5. As supplements in daily chemical industry: cosmetics, hand sanitizer, laundry detergent, gel, etc.

6. For aquaculture, fruit preservation, water treatment, and antiseptic in cans.

However, some problems are also exposed, such as safety problems caused by silver accumulation and migration since silver enriched to a higher concentration is harmful to humans and mammals. Therefore, the scope of application and dosage of AgNPs are also worthy of research and attention.

Reference:

Kashmire, G. (2020). Russian Scientists Have Created a Material That Kills Flu Virs—And They Hope It Could Protest Against Coronavirus. Newsweek.

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