Antimicrobial Applications of Silver Nanoparticles to E. coli Colony Biofilms

  • James P. McEvoyEmail author
  • Kayra Genc
  • Priya Loi
  • William J. Walker
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2118)


Bacterial biofilms can cause problems in various arenas, from the fouling of water processing equipment to persistent in vivo infections. Silver nanoparticles are promising antimicrobial agents with activity against biofilm bacteria. Here we describe the synthesis of antimicrobial silver nanoparticles and the measurement of their antimicrobial activity against E. coli colony biofilms, which is a popular in vitro biofilm model for antibiotic assays.

Key words

Silver nanoparticles Silver nitrate Sodium borohydride Polyvinylpyrrolidone Aqueous synthesis E. coli Antimicrobial Antibacterial Biofilms Antibiotics biocides Resistance Scanning electron microscopy 



The manuscript was edited by Enrico Ferrari and Mikhail Soloviev. The authors thank Sharon Gibbons for her help with the scanning electron microscopy.


  1. 1.
    Bjarnsholt T, Alhede M, Alhede M, Eickhardt-Sørensen SR, Moser C, Kühl M et al (2013) The in vivo biofilm. Trends Microbiol 21:466–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Olsen I (2015) Biofilm-specific antibiotic tolerance and resistance. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 34:877–886CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Gule NP, Begum NM, Klumperman B (2016) Advances in biofouling mitigation: a review. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol 46:535–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Rai M, Yadav A, Gade A (2009) Silver nanoparticles as a new generation of antimicrobials. Biotechnol Adv 27:76–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Martinez-Gutierrez F, Boegli L, Agostinho A, Sánchez EM, Bach H, Ruiz F et al (2013) Anti-biofilm activity of silver nanoparticles against different microorganisms. Biofouling 29:651–660CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ruben Morones-Ramirez J, Winkler JA, Spina CS, Collins JJ (2013) Silver enhances antibiotic activity against gram-negative bacteria. Sci Transl Med 5:190ra181Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Zheng K, Setyawati MI, Leong DT, Xie J (2018) Antimicrobial silver nanomaterials. Coord Chem Rev 357:1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Panáček A, Kvítek L, Smékalová M, Večeřová R, Kolář M, Röderová M et al (2018) Bacterial resistance to silver nanoparticles and how to overcome it. Nat Nanotechnol 13:65–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Solomon SD, Bahadory M, Jeyarajasingam AV, Rutkowsky SA, Boritz C, Mulfinger L (2007) Synthesis and study of silver nanoparticles. J Chem Educ 84:322–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Merritt JH, Kadouri DE, O’Toole GA (2011) Growing and analyzing static biofilms. Curr Protoc Microbiol 22:1B.1.1–1B.1.18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Roberts AEL, Kragh KN, Bjarnsholt T, Diggle SP (2015) The limitations of in vitro experimentation in understanding biofilms and chronic infection. J Mol Biol 427:3646–3661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mah T-F, Pitts B, Pellock B, Walker GC, Stewart PS, Toole GAO (2003) A genetic basis for Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm antibiotic resistance. Nature 426:306–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Eustis S, El-Sayed MA (2006) Why gold nanoparticles are more precious than pretty gold: Noble metal surface plasmon resonance and its enhancement of the radiative and nonradiative properties of nanocrystals of different shapes. Chem Soc Rev 35:209–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Agnihotri S, Mukherji S, Mukherji S (2014) Size-controlled silver nanoparticles synthesized over the range 5–100 nm using the same protocol and their antibacterial efficacy. RSC Adv 4:3974–3983CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Draget KI, Østgaard K, Smidsrød O (1989) Alginate-based solid media for plant tissue culture. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 31:79–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • James P. McEvoy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kayra Genc
    • 1
  • Priya Loi
    • 1
  • William J. Walker
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Biomedical Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, Royal HollowayUniversity of LondonSurreyUK

Personalised recommendations