Silver nanocrystallites: biofabrication using Shewanella oneidensis, and an evaluation of their comparative toxicity on gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria

Anil K Suresh, Dale A Pelletier, Wei Wang, Ji-Won Moon, Baohua Gu, Ninell P Mortensen, David P Allison, David C Joy, Tommy J Phelps, Mitchel J Doktycz
Environmental Science & Technology 2010 July 1, 44 (13): 5210-5
Microorganisms have long been known to develop resistance to metal ions either by sequestering metals inside the cell or by effluxing them into the extracellular media. Here we report the biosynthesis of extracellular silver-based single nanocrystallites of well-defined composition and homogeneous morphology utilizing the gamma-proteobacterium, Shewanella oneidensis MR-1, upon incubation with aqueous silver nitrate solution. Further characterization of these particles revealed that the crystals consist of small, reasonably monodispersed spheres in the 2-11 nm size range (average of 4 +/- 1.5 nm). The bactericidal effect of these nanoparticles (biogenic-Ag) is compared to chemically synthesized silver nanoparticles (colloidal-Ag and oleate capped silver nanoparticles, oleate-Ag) and assessed using Gram-negative (E. coli and S. oneidensis) and Gram-positive (B. subtilis) bacteria. Relative toxicity was based on the diameter of inhibition zone in disk diffusion tests, minimum inhibitory concentrations, live/dead assays, and atomic force microscopy. From a toxicity perspective, strain-dependent inhibition depended on the synthesis procedure and the surface coat. Biogenic-Ag was found to be of higher toxicity compared to colloidal-Ag for all three strains tested, whereas E. coli and S. oneidensis were found to be more resistant to either of these nanoparticles than B. subtilis. In contrast, oleate-Ag was not toxic to any of the bacteria. These findings have implications for the potential uses of Ag nanomaterials and for their fate in biological and environmental systems.

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