• Günter KampfEmail author


Silver is a naturally occurring element and has some bactericidal activity against selected species (3.0 log) at 0.032 mg/l. The fungicidal or mycobactericidal activity is largely unknown. High MIC values indicating silver tolerance have been described with E. coli (≤ 512,000 mg/l), E. cloacae (≤512,000 mg/l), P. aeruginosa (≤128,000 mg/l), Klebsiella spp. (≤5,500 mg/l), Enterococcus spp. (≤300 mg/l), Citrobacter spp. (250 mg/l) and Proteus spp. (250 mg/l) based on the proposed cut-off value of 8 mg/l in Gram-negative bacteria. Cross-tolerance to copper is possible, mainly via efflux pumps. Cross-tolerance to various antibiotics has been described in selected isolates of Gram-negative species. Silver-resistant isolates often harbour sil genes, mostly in Enterobacter spp. or Klebsiella spp. Resistance may also be explained by plasmids, efflux pumps or cellular silver accumulation. Low-level exposure leads to no MIC change in 9 species, a weak MIC change in 3 species and a strong MIC change in 6 species with 4 of them being stable resulting in MIC values as high as 1,024 mg/l (E. coli) or 1,000 mg/l (E. cloacae). Silver nanoparticles may inhibit biofilm formation and may partially remove biofilm.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Hygiene and Environmental MedicineUniversity of GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany

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