Nanosilver: An old antibacterial agent with great promise in the fight against antibiotic resistance




Kaiser, Kyra G.
Delattre, Victoire
Frost, Victoria J.
Buck, Gregory W.
Phu, Julianne V.
Fernandez, Timea G.
Pavel, Ioana E.

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Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is a major problem worldwide that costs 55 billion USD annually for extended hospitalization, resource utilization, and additional treatment expenditures in the United States. This review examines the roles and forms of silver (e.g., bulk Ag, silver salts (AgNO3), and colloidal Ag) from antiquity to the present, and its eventual incorporation as silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in numerous antibacterial consumer products and biomedical applications. The AgNP fabrication methods, physicochemical properties, and antibacterial mechanisms in Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial models are covered. The emphasis is on the problematic ESKAPE pathogens and the antibiotic-resistant pathogens of the greatest human health concern according to the World Health Organization. This review delineates the differences between each bacterial model, the role of the physicochemical properties of AgNPs in the interaction with pathogens, and the subsequent damage of AgNPs and Ag+ released by AgNPs on structural cellular components. In closing, the processes of antibiotic resistance attainment and how novel AgNP–antibiotic conjugates may synergistically reduce the growth of antibiotic-resistant pathogens are presented in light of promising examples, where antibiotic efficacy alone is decreased.



nanosilver, antimicrobial applications, physicochemical properties, antibacterial mechanisms, synergy, antibiotic-resistant bacteria


Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, Texas, and Winthrop University, South Carolina are highly acknowledged for their support. The SC INBRE #5P20GM103499, SC EPSCoR, and NSF #1655740 awards are highly acknowledged.


Attribution 4.0 International


Kaiser, K.G.; Delattre, V.; Frost, V.J.; Buck, G.W.; Phu, J.V.; Fernandez, T.G.; Pavel, I.E. Nanosilver: An Old Antibacterial Agent with Great Promise in the Fight against Antibiotic Resistance. Antibiotics 2023, 12, 1264.