What is Silver?
Silver is a chemical element with the symbol Ag (from the Latin Argentum: "shiny" or "white"), an extremely soft, white, lustrous, rather unreactive transition metal.
What are Silver Nanoparticles (AG NPs)
Silver nanoparticles are nanoparticles of silver of between 1 nm and 100 nm in size. Their extremely large surface area permits the coordination of a vast number of ligands.
Silver nanoparticles can kill all kinds of pathogenic microorganisms.
Few silver nanoparticles can kill more than 650 kinds of bacteria in minutes.
Silver nanoparticles have the characteristics of sterilization broadly and no drug resistance.
Silver nanoparticles have no toxic reaction, and there is no irritation was found on the skin.
All these advantages have opened up broad prospects for the application of silver nanoparticles. Silver nanoparticles are considered to be the latest generation of natural antibacterial agents.
Silver Nanoparticles (AG NPs) as an Antimicrobial / Microbiocidal
The introduction of silver into microbial cells induces a high degree of structural and morphological changes, which can lead to cell death. As the silver nanoparticles come in contact with the bacteria, they adhere to the cell wall and cell membrane. Once bound, some of the silver passes through to the inside, and interacts with phosphate-containing compounds like DNA and RNA, while another portion adheres to the sulfur-containing proteins on the membrane. Thus the introduction of silver nanoparticles inhibits replication and is sufficient to cause the death of the cell.
Silver nanoparticles can be incorporated on many types of surfaces including wood, metals, plastic, and glass.
Ag NPs have been used tremendously in the health industry, food storage, textile coatings, and numerous environmental applications.
What is Disinfectant?
Disinfectants are antimicrobial agents designed to inactivate or destroy microorganisms on inert surfaces.
Disinfectants are different from other antimicrobial agents such as antibiotics, which destroy microorganisms within the body, and antiseptics, which destroy microorganisms on living tissue. Disinfectants are also different from biocides — the latter are intended to destroy all forms of life, not just microorganisms. Disinfectants work by destroying the cell wall of microbes or interfering with their metabolism.
A perfect disinfectant would also offer complete and full microbiological sterilization, without harming humans and useful form of life.
Silver as an Antimicrobial
Silver has been used as an antimicrobial for thousands of years. Over the past several decades, it has been introduced into numerous new venues such as in the treatment of water, in dietary supplements, in medical applications, and to produce antimicrobial coatings and products.
Silver is often used as an alternative disinfectant in applications in which the use of traditional disinfectants such as chlorine may result in the formation of toxic by-products or cause corrosion of surfaces. Silver has also been demonstrated to produce a synergistic effect in combination with several other disinfectants.
Silver Nanoparticles as an Effective Disinfectant
In spite of the contemporary improvement of the hygiene in the biomedical (hospitals), education (schools), surrounding environment (air/water), and industry (food/textile/animal husbandry); it is an increasingly important public health issue globally. In particular, infectious diseases are the major challenges to the human being because of emerging >300 infectious diseases with a new adaptation. To overcome the various strategies have been used to reduce infections by using a different disinfectant. The disinfectants are chemical substances applied on the surface to kill or inhibit microorganisms. It is an ideal way to disinfect various surfaces in hospitals, kitchens and in clinics.
The various chemical compounds such as alcohols, quaternary ammonium cation, aldehydes, oxidizing agents such as sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxides, iodine, etc. have been used as disinfectant effectively. However, these compounds are suffered from various constraints such as harmfulness, corrosive nature and bacterial resistance.
To overcome those problems, the nanomaterials have created a new field in wider sectors. The nanomaterials have a wide range of uses like water disinfectant, hospital-acquired disinfectant, food preservative, and medical devices, etc. Particularly, silver ions and silver-based compounds are the well-known antimicrobial agent for the medicinal importance from the 1000 BCE and they have been used as an efficient health additive in Chinese and Indian Ayurveda medicine. The choice of silver is due to its multiple functions in the medical field. As usual silver nitrate is used for antimicrobial action a long time, but nowadays nano-based silver has efficient in antimicrobial action due to its physicochemical property in which larger surface to volume ratio resulted in higher surface exposure to the microbes which leads to furnish better antimicrobial activity.