Responsibility through research
Nanomaterials represent a promising technological avenue for the reduction of the global consumption of materials and resources, as well as the more efficient generation of energy.
Research and economy are responsible for the advocacy and advancement of these technologies for the benefit of the environment.
The research papers documenting the antibacterial effect of nanosilver should only serve as examples at this point: Initial nanosilver-enriched products did not show antibacterial effects. This was concluded when the conventional antibacterial test, which explores the zones of inhibition between fungal or bacterial colonies, was employed. This method of testing is commonly used when studying the effects of antibiotics and other types of bactericides. Bactericides diffuse into the growth medium Agar and establish a zone of inhibition around bacterial colonies. Synthetics enriched with nanosilver do not generate a zone of inhibition, as the silver ions only directly affect the surface, whilst not diffusing sufficiently into the surrounding areas.
In order to verify the antibacterial effect of nanosilver, complex new methods of testing needed to be developed. A major advantage of nanosilver, (extremely low radiation and thus low contamination of surroundings) led to the necessity of further considerable research efforts. By means of these new tests, we are now able to detect the desired antibacterial effect on the surface of an Agar plate, thus allowing us to determine the required minimal amount of nanosilver that needs to be added to a particular product.
Only a fraction of the amount of silver is necessary in order to achieve the similar antibacterial effect of solid silver.
Less silver is dissipated, processed, transported and mined. Moreover, less silver enters the environment in the form of waste than by solid or silver-plated equipment (e.g. silver-coated yarn). Environmental toxins, like Triclosan are replaced by silver, which is an ubiquitous metal that nature has dealt with for millions of years. Surprisingly, bacteria have hardly developed a resistance to silver over this period of time. This, in particular, lends nanosilver the potential to substantially reduce the use of valuable antibiotics, as bacteria are known to rapidly develop antibiotic resistance.