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Carboxylate Functional Groups Mediate Interaction with Silver Nanoparticles in Biofilm Matrix

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journal contribution
posted on 22.01.2018, 12:35 by Olga Sambalova, Kerstin Thorwarth, Norbert Victor Heeb, Davide Bleiner, Yucheng Zhang, Andreas Borgschulte, Alexandra Kroll
Biofilms causing medical conditions or interfering with technical applications can prove undesirably resistant to silver nanoparticle (AgNP)-based antimicrobial treatment, whereas beneficial biofilms may be adversely affected by the released silver nanoparticles. Isolated biofilm matrices can induce reduction of silver ions and stabilization of the formed nanosilver, thus altering the exposure conditions. We thus study the reduction of silver nitrate solution in model experiments under chemically defined conditions as well as in stream biofilms. Formed silver nanoparticles are characterized by state-of-the art methods. We find that isolated biopolymer fractions of biofilm organic matrix are capable of reducing ionic Ag, whereas other isolated fractions are not, meaning that biopolymer fractions contain both reducing agent and nucleation seed sites. In all of the investigated systems, we find that silver nanoparticle–biopolymer interface is dominated by carboxylate functional groups. This suggests that the mechanism of nanoparticle formation is of general nature. Moreover, we find that glucose concentration within the biofilm organic matrix correlates strongly with the nanoparticle formation rate. We propose a simple mechanistic explanation based on earlier literature and the experimental findings. The observed generality of the extracellular polymeric substance/AgNP system could be used to improve the understanding of impact of Ag+ on aqueous ecosystems, and consequently, to develop biofilm-specific medicines and bio-inspired water decontaminants.