Chemists at the University of Helsinki have managed to manufacture new polymer-stabilised silver nanoparticles. The result is significant because the antimicrobial characteristics of silver are used in textiles, floor coatings and paints even though the impact on health of silver nanoparticles are not entirely known. Finnish researchers now think that exposure to silver can be reduced by chemically binding the nanoparticles to polymers. The research results will soon be published in a leading journal in the field, Colloid and Polymer Science.
Nanoparticles (a nanometre is equal to one billionth of a metre) are a topic of debate both in research and everyday life. The antimicrobial characteristics of silver, on the other hand, have been well-known for a long time and it has numerous commercial applications. Supermarkets carry an abundance of products with added silver or silver nanoparticles. These include antimicrobial textiles, containers, shower curtains, tabletops, floor coatings, paints and glues. Colloidal silver water for internal use as well as creams and deodorants, and even wound dressing products, containing silver that are used externally are also available.
In the US, the registration of new insecticides containing silver nanoparticles has raised debate about their safety. The question can be justifiably asked as to whether conclusions on the toxicity of silver nanoparticles can be drawn on the basis of earlier safety information on the toxicity of silver ions and metallic silver (1).
The method developed at the University of Helsinki is a solution to reducing the toxicity of silver. Nanoparticles can be manufactured through various methods that are based on reducing metallic salts, in this case silver nitrate, in the presence of a stabilising compound. Polymer-stabilised silver nanoparticles have been successfully manufactured at the Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry at the University of Helsinki. The work has e
|Contact: Professor Heikki Tenhu|
University of Helsinki