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Antimicrobial silver: uses, toxicity and potential for resistance
Link to Journal Abstract
This review gives a comprehensive overview of the widespread use and toxicity of silver compounds in many biological applications. Moreover, the bacterial silver resistance mechanisms and their spread in the environment are discussed. This study shows that it is important to understand in detail how silver and silver nanoparticles exert their toxicity and to understand how bacteria acquire silver resistance. Silver ions have shown to possess strong antimicrobial properties but cause no immediate and serious risk for human health, which led to an extensive use of silver-based products in many applications. However, the risk of silver nanoparticles is not yet clarified and their widespread use could increase silver release in the environment, which can have negative impacts on ecosystems. Moreover, it is shown that silver resistance determinants are widely spread among environmental and clinically relevant bacteria. These resistance determinants are often located on mobile genetic elements, facilitating their spread. Therefore, detailed knowledge of the silver toxicity and resistance mechanisms can improve its applications and lead to a better understanding of the impact on human health and ecosystems.
This review gives a comprehensive overview of the widespread use and toxicity of silver compounds in many biological applications. The study shows that it is important to understand in detail how silver and silver nanoparticles exert their toxicity and to understand how bacteria acquire silver resistance.
Exposure Or Hazard Target
Method Of Study
Environmental Fate and Transport
Risk Exposure Group
Biometals, 26(4): 609-621 (August 2013)
Mijnendonckx K, Leys N, Mahillon J, Silver S, Van Houdt R
Last updated on August 15, 2013
This work is supported in part by the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Initiative of the National Science Foundation
under NSF Award Number EEC-0118007.
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