Silver as an antibacterial... why?

I've become aware recently that silver is an increasingly popular antibacterial/antimicrobial. (Actually, my interest was sparked because I was given a pair of silver-infused ski socks, that apparently will prevent odor with fewer washings... hmm...) I have poked around the web looking for an explanation of this, and while I can find extensive information about its uses and new product developments and regulations, etc., I have found almost nothing regarding [i]why[/i] silver kills bacteria.

So, here's my question: [b]regarding its chemistry and basic biology, why does silver kill bacteria?[/b] Any help is GREATLY appreciated!!

Thanks again!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Its actually Nano-Silver

Its actually Nano-Silver used as an antimicrobial. That is silver that has been reduced to particles measured in billionths of a metre. This silver works as a catalyst for oxidation reactions. Disulfide bonds play an important role as reversible switches for proteins in bacteria. Silver works by denaturatiing the sulfide bonds in these proteins ( as a catalyst). Silver also acts in generating oxygen from air or water which in turn destroys the cell wall membranes of bacteria. Silver will only act in single cell species such as bacteria. Because it acts as a catalyst - it only "switches" a reaction on and therefore does not poluute the environment in any way. Its a good use of nanotechnology.

I found this link that

I found this link that explains the history and working of silver. I work for a spa and pool company and silver is a very popular santizer because it's so gentle and easy yet effective.

ok, i know im a bit late on

ok, i know im a bit late on this specific post, seeing that the last was in 2006. I do still hope someone humors me on my question, though.

Ok! here it goes... if Ag catalyzes the formation of O-radicals for oxidation doesn't that mean we shouldn't be exposed to it constantly? so if we use nano Ag tech on our food and laundy isn't this going to be a health problem too?

and with regards to silver particles attracting lead, i've been told that this also works in the body, right? some alternative med people use silver to detox the body of Pb... is this true or have i been misinformed

and lastly, will silverwear and silver pitchers also attract Pb? if so what happens when it accumulates on the surface of these items? can u wash it off with a strong household acidulant?

I would really appreciate the help! Thanks a lot!
-Misguided

Great Thread you got hear

Great Thread you got hear very helpful.I like read forums like this.

I honestly don't think that

I honestly don't think that silver is working as an antibacterial. I know people that got sick because they touched silver, they got all kids of bacteria from a silver necklace. At my work place, at San Jose landscaping I know a guy who got some kind of really rare bacteria from a silver ring he was wearing. He was in critical condition for more than 4 months.

Hi dear even i didnt think

Hi dear even i didnt think anything like this befor i read your qauestion but after reading this question i also got curiosity to know abiout it so kindly let me also know about it when u get the answer
i have looked at the answer but they are not satisfying

http://www.bibleknowledgebookstore.com/

It's either gonna be because:

(i) it just has plain nasty chemical properties which rip organic molecules to shreds (e.g. like chlorine in swimming pools and drinking water)

or (ii) cos it has subtle properties which allow it to get inside their cells and mess with their biochemistry, by fooling them that it's something they want, and only far far too late to they realise their hideous mistake MWOAH HAH HAH

I'm guessing it's (ii), cos silver is a gentle soul, really?

But I do not actually know :)

But as good chemists, we should be able to have a good guess just from our knowledge of the periodic table:

what sort of solubility does silver have?
what sort of ions does form?
what does it like to bond with?

Nano silver works only on

Nano silver works only on single cell bacteria. It works in 2 ways. Either denaturation or oxidation - and possibly both. Its action is as a catalyst only. The denaturation mechanism is where disulfide bonds in an importnat protein( enzyme) are cleaved or disconnected. This prevents the bacteria from exerting any control on exposure to oxidation reactions. Nano silver will also generate reactive oxygen in either air or water which effects the cell wall of bacteria in much the same way any strong base,such as Hydrogen peroxide, will kill bacteria. Nano silver does all this whilst acting only as a catalyst for the reaction. Thus it is long lasting and perfectly safe.
However odour in clothes are caused by far more complex mechanisms than single celled bacteria. Bacteria may form microscopic slime which is then food for other higher order micro species and then the formation of breakdown chemicals that really cause the odours. Bacterial slimes are usally exopolysaccharides which are very tough. Silver will have zero effect on bacterial slime. Only good old fashioned washing with detergent will work.,

Can you list any academic websites that say this is true?

I think perhaps it is just the interpretation of some of the properties of silver that are being mis interpreted here.

On my England Football (Soccer to you Mitch) shirt I had a tag outlining the wonders of the X-static fibre technology, on eof the points was:

"The anti-microbial properties of silver inhibit the growth of bacteria in the X-STATIC® fabric"

http://www.noblefiber.com/ for more stuff from that material.

I recon it's just that bacteria and stuff just don't grow on very clean surfaces....and silver tends to be rather clean, doe it not?

WebElements: the periodic table on the WWW [http://www.webelements.com/]

Copyright 1993-20010 Mark Winter [The University of Sheffield and WebElements Ltd, UK]. All rights reserved.