Killer Paper with a Silver Lining

Paper coated with silver nanoparticles developed to kill bacteria that causes food-borne illnesses

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Scientists have developed a new material that fights the bacteria that is responsible for food-borne illness. This is good news considering last years spate of food-borne illness scares.

Aharon Gedanken, Ph.D., of the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and colleagues created a type of paper lined with silver nanoparticles acting as anti-bacterial agents.

Silver is already used to fight bacteria in other products such as medicinal ointments, surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms, odor-resistant socks. Lately, scientists have been investigating the possible applications of silver nanoparticles in metals, plastics, and fabrics. Silver nanoparticles, which are mere fractions the width of a human hair, are more effective as anti-bacterial agents than are larger particles. Nanoparticles last longer, making them a potential solution to antibiotic resistance.

Lab tests of the so-called "killer paper" have proven successful. The paper exhibited strong anti-bacterial effects against E. coli and S. aureus. In testing, the paper killed these two causes of bacterial food poisoning in three hours. This success demonstrates that paper coated in silver nanoparticles is a viable option for food packaging that increases shelf life and reduces the possibilty of food poisoning.

Yet, it has been difficult to fabricate this type of paper for commercial use. However, once production for commercial use becomes more feasible, the authors believe that paper coated with silver nanoparticles could replace other methods of food preservations such as low temperature storage, heat treatment, and radiation.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 19, 2011
Last Updated:
January 20, 2011