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Each year, more than 25,000 people die from bacterial infection that cannot be treated with antibiotics. Drug resistance is increasing. Researchers are looking for other ways to combat the bacterial threat.
Since ancient Egyptian times gold has been used for many medical purposes. Recently, doctors have started to use gold to treat and diagnose cancer. It is an inert metallic that doesn’t react or change to contact with living organisms. It can be used in nanomedicine to make cancer cells grow.
New research has revealed a mechanism whereby gold nanoparticles kill bacteria.
The researchers made nanoparticles the size of stars and near perfect spheres in the lab. Each was approximately 100 nanometers across, which is one eighth of the width of a human hair.
“What we found was the bacteria surrounding these nanoparticles began forming, then deflated and finally died like an inflatable. Vladimir Baulin of University of Rovira Wilhelli Chemical engineering department said, “It seems that the cell wall explosion.”
This theory was tested by researchers who built bacteria models and observed the interactions of these bacteria with tiny gold particles measuring just 100 nanometers.
The results showed that the uniformity in the surface layers of these nanoparticles creates a mechanical force which stretches the cells of surrounding bacteria. This causes the bacteria to burst much like a balloon that is stretched from different points.
The study was performed by The Universitat Rovira I Virgili (Spanish), the University of Grenoble (France), and the Universitat der Saarlandes (German), RMIT University, Australia. The article was published in Advance Materials.
The gold nanoparticles, which are tiny particles made of gold, have a diameter between 1 and 100nm. They are highly electron dense, have dielectric properties and catalytic activity. They can bind with many biological macromolecules and not affect their biological activity.
Two types of gold nanoparticles are available: solid powder and liquid solution.
Solution of gold nanoparticles are sols that have been dispersed into an aqueous solution. The color of the nanoparticles depends on a variety of factors. Its color is determined by a number of factors. Smaller gold nanoparticles (2-5nm diameter) appear yellow. Medium-sized gold nanoparticles (10-20nm diameter) appear wine-red. Larger, more concentrated gold nanoparticles (30-40nm diameter) appear purplish. Additionally, it exhibits the characteristics of nanoparticles: quantum size effect; surface effect; volume effect; and macroscopic quant tunneling effect.
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