Significant Insights on Optimizing Antimicrobial Ability of Silver

Silver-based nanoparticle presence in everyday items has surged over the past decade. Silver is an efficient antibacterial agent but can harm the environment. A study published in the journal iScience aims to discern the relationship between microbial activity and silver, providing a means for limiting the unintended environmental impact of silver-based nanoparticles

Significant Insights on Optimizing Antimicrobial Ability of Silver

​​​​​​​Study: When Function is Biological: Discerning How Silver Nanoparticle Structure Dictates Antimicrobial Activity. Image Credit: Kateryna Kon/

Silver – An Effective Antibacterial Agent

Silver's antimicrobial qualities have been known for centuries. Silver containers were revered for their capacity to keep dairy items from spoiling, and the Greeks employed silver creams to treat wound infections. Several commercial goods now use silver, although in a much more effective form.

Silver-based nanoparticles used in fabrics are advertised for their excellent resistance to odors. Medical supplies are readily layered with silver-based nanoparticles to restrict the growth of bacteria. Similarly, silver-based nanoparticles used in paints, countertops, and toys promise long-lasting antimicrobial characteristics.

Effects of Silver Nanoparticles on the Ecosystem

The generation of silver-based nanoparticles currently exceeds 600 metric tons, with most of it contaminating the environment through wastewater and solid waste.

The uncontrolled exposure to silver-based nanoparticles is a rising issue since these nanoparticles may harm naturally existing bacteria, marine environments, and even human health. Therefore, the modification of silver-based nanoparticle toxicity may contribute to enhanced antimicrobial technology and may limit undesirable environmental consequences after disposal.

Controlling silver-based nanoparticle toxicity necessitates controlling nanoparticle dissolution. The duration of this dissolution process is defined by parameters such as pH, the amount of sulfide, dissolved oxygen, the quantity of natural organic matter, and ambient light.

Manipulating Silver's Toxicity

Silver ions are hazardous to bacteria as they may attach to various proteins, causing their activities to be disrupted. When these silver ions are discharged due to particle breakdown, they account for the majority of the antibacterial activity of silver nanoparticles. No harm is found when all of the oxygen is removed.

Antimicrobial action may be significantly boosted if nanoparticle breakdown is encouraged by acidification. Attempting to manipulate the dissolution of silver-based nanoparticles by changing the aqueous-based solution, on the other hand, might be a daunting prospect for regulating the nanoparticle's complete existence.

Structure-Activity Relationship (SAR)

The next logical progression in the research of silver-based nanoparticles is to develop a structure-activity relationship (SAR). The optimal SAR would use the structural properties of a silver-based nanoparticle, such as the particle's dimensions, as input and forecast the dissolution of silver as well as antibacterial activity.

The nanoparticles themselves pose a problem in producing such data. The most common techniques for producing silver-based nanoparticles produce materials with uncontrolled surface characteristics, size, and shape—the accuracy of the activity-structure relationships is reduced.

Basis of the Research

The link between silver-based nanoparticle architecture, silver dissolution, and silver's antibacterial action was defined by the team. Several synthetic approaches were created or changed to create a massive collection of nanoparticles with individually adjusted surface chemistries, dimensions, and shapes.

The collection of nanoparticles allowed the team to untangle the effect of each variable on the dissolution, demonstrating the link between structural factors and dissolution performance unequivocally.

The team investigated the dynamics and equilibrium behavior of silver-based nanoparticle dissolution utilizing conventional techniques to obtain numerical data for structural characteristics comparison. The team also assessed the antimicrobial ability of similar samples.

Results of the Study

Utilizing a collection of silver-based nanoparticles customized to demonstrate a broad variety of surface chemistries, sizes, and shapes, this study evaluated how silver-based nanoparticle properties affect antibacterial effectiveness and their environmental effect.

The team highlighted that when there is a greater surface area of silver accessible, there is more dissolved silver. Similarly, the team ascertained that tiny particles dissolve to a higher degree than bigger particles for a similar mass fraction of silver, as expected by their proportionately greater surface areas.

For almost all substances, the dissolution rate was proportionate to the amount of dissolution; the nanoparticles that dissolved quicker also dissolved to a greater degree.

The team concluded that these discoveries offer new insight into silver's chemistry at the nanoscale, and help to make room for the effective and safe usage of silver-based nanoparticles.


Zhang, Q., Hu, Y. et al. (2022). When Function is Biological: Discerning How Silver Nanoparticle Structure Dictates Antimicrobial Activity. iScience. Available at:

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Shaheer Rehan

Written by

Shaheer Rehan

Shaheer is a graduate of Aerospace Engineering from the Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad. He has carried out research on a wide range of subjects including Aerospace Instruments and Sensors, Computational Dynamics, Aerospace Structures and Materials, Optimization Techniques, Robotics, and Clean Energy. He has been working as a freelance consultant in Aerospace Engineering for the past year. Technical Writing has always been a strong suit of Shaheer's. He has excelled at whatever he has attempted, from winning accolades on the international stage in match competitions to winning local writing competitions. Shaheer loves cars. From following Formula 1 and reading up on automotive journalism to racing in go-karts himself, his life revolves around cars. He is passionate about his sports and makes sure to always spare time for them. Squash, football, cricket, tennis, and racing are the hobbies he loves to spend his time in.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Rehan, Shaheer. (2023, August 18). Significant Insights on Optimizing Antimicrobial Ability of Silver. AZoNano. Retrieved on May 21, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Rehan, Shaheer. "Significant Insights on Optimizing Antimicrobial Ability of Silver". AZoNano. 21 May 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Rehan, Shaheer. "Significant Insights on Optimizing Antimicrobial Ability of Silver". AZoNano. (accessed May 21, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Rehan, Shaheer. 2023. Significant Insights on Optimizing Antimicrobial Ability of Silver. AZoNano, viewed 21 May 2024,

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.