Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Colloid chemistry, Microbiology, 2.10 NANO-TECHNOLOGY, Nano-materials

Publication Details

Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 443 (2015) 56–64



Hypothesis: Metallic nanoparticles such as nano-silver have found many applications as alternative antimicrobials in recent years. However methods for determining their proposed antimicrobial activity have received little attention to date. The disk diffusion assay is commonly used as a demonstration of antimicrobial properties and is a regular feature in synthetic nanoparticle papers. The aim of this study was to assess its effectiveness in demonstrating the ‘‘nanoparticle specific’’ antimicrobial properties in the absence of ionic contributions from unreacted reducing agents and or impurities. Experiments: The disk diffusion assay was carried out on a range of silver nanoparticles, both in-house synthesised and commercially available, using Escherichia coli ATCC 25922 as a model organism. Results: Capped and purified nanoparticles show no antimicrobial activity despite claims to the contrary for this assay. Results will be discussed in terms of the need for researchers without a background in microbiology to understand the mechanism of antimicrobial action before choosing an assay. Also discussed is the importance understanding the physiochemical characteristics of when interpreting results. Finally the relevance of the results in terms establishing protocols for method development for ‘nanoparticle specific’ antimicrobial properties will also be considered.



Science Foundation Ireland, Fiosraigh DIT