Antibacterial activity of silver nanoparticles: A surface science insight

Benjamin Le Ouay, Francesco Stellacci

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1015 Citations (Scopus)


Summary Silver nanoparticles constitute a very promising approach for the development of new antimicrobial systems. Nanoparticulate objects can bring significant improvements in the antibacterial activity of this element, through specific effect such as an adsorption at bacterial surfaces. However, the mechanism of action is essentially driven by the oxidative dissolution of the nanoparticles, as indicated by recent direct observations. The role of Ag+ release in the action mechanism was also indirectly observed in numerous studies, and explains the sensitivity of the antimicrobial activity to the presence of some chemical species, notably halides and sulfides which form insoluble salts with Ag+. As such, surface properties of Ag nanoparticles have a crucial impact on their potency, as they influence both physical (aggregation, affinity for bacterial membrane, etc.) and chemical (dissolution, passivation, etc.) phenomena. Here, we review the main parameters that will affect the surface state of Ag NPs and their influence on antimicrobial efficacy. We also provide an analysis of several works on Ag NPs activity, observed through the scope of an oxidative Ag+ release.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-354
Number of pages16
JournalNano Today
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 22 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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