Small Synthetic Peptides Bioconjugated to Hybrid Gold Nanoparticles Destroy Potentially Deadly Bacteria at Submicromolar Concentrations

Synthetic antibacterial peptides are advanced weapons that scientists design and produce to confront current threats of harmful and mortal pathogens, which could affect humans in everyday life. Recently, many small amino acid sequences, greatly efficient in their antibacterial action, have been reported in the literature. To date, only a few synthetic peptides, acting at micromolar or even tenths of micromolar concentrations, are on the market as commercial products, mainly because of their high cost of production. In this context, materials science can provide fundamental help by engineering small synthetic peptides, powered by hybrid gold nanoparticles, which have been found to strongly enhance antimicrobial activity against bacterial infections. Submicromolar concentrations of the 1018K6 peptide, bioconjugated to hybrid polymer–gold nanoparticles, kill almost 100% of pathogen bacteria, such as Listeria and Salmonella genera, paving the way for economically sustainable commercial products based on this synthetic nanocomplex.