Background: The urge for the development and manufacture of new and effective antimicrobial agents is
particularly demanding especially in the present scenario of emerging multiple drug resistant microorganisms. A
promising initiative would be to converge nanotechnology to develop novel strategies for antimicrobial treatment.
These distinct nano scale properties confer impressive antimicrobial capabilities to nanomaterials that could be exploited.
Nanotechnology particularly modulates the physicochemical properties of organic and inorganic nanoparticles,
rendering them suitable for various applications related to antimicrobial therapy compared to their bulk counterparts.
However, a major issue associated with such usage of nanomaterials is the safety concern on heath care
system. Hence, a thorough put knowledge on biocompatible nanostructures intended for antimicrobial therapy is
Methods: A systematic review of the existing scientific literature is being attempted here which includes the properties
and applications of a few nano structured materials for antimicrobial therapy and also the mechanism of action of
nanomaterials as antimicrobial agents. Silver (Ag), Graphene, Quantum dots (QDs), Zinc oxide (ZnO) and chitosan
nanoparticles are taken as representatives of metals, semiconductors, metal oxides and organic nanoparticles that
have found several applications in antimicrobial therapy are reviewed in detail.
Results and Conclusion: An ideal anti microbial should selectively kill or inhibit the growth of microbes but cause
little or no adverse effect to the host. Each of the engineered nanomaterials reviewed here has its own advantages
and disadvantages. Nanomaterials in general directly disrupt the microbial cell membrane, interact with DNA and
proteins or they could indirectly initiate the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damage microbial cell
components and viruses. Some like silver nanoparticles have broad spectrum antibacterial activity while others like
cadmium containing QDs shows both antibacterial as well as antiprotozoal activity. Nano material formulations can
be used directly or as surface coatings or as effective carriers for delivering antibiotics. Polycationic nature of Chitosan
NPs helps in conjugation and stabilization of metallic nanoparticles which will enhance their effective usage in
Keywords: Anti-microbial, nanoparticles, silver, graphene, zinc oxide, quantum dots, ROS, bacteria, oxidative stress, biofilms.
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