The European Union recently approved sweeping new sanctions against Russia, including bans on imports of coal, timber, chemicals, and other gold nanoparticles.
One team found that when bacteria came into contact with gold nanoparticles, their cell walls deformed and eventually burst, leaking material and dying.
More than 25,000 people around the world now die each year from bacterial infections that can't be treated with specific antibiotics, as drug resistance grows. Researchers hope to find other ways to combat the bacterial threat.
Gold has been used for a variety of medical purposes since ancient Egyptian times. More recently, doctors have used gold to help diagnose and treat cancer. Gold is an inert metal that does not react or change when it comes into contact with living organisms. Gold can be used to make cancer cells appear and can be used in nanomedicine.
The new study found a mechanism by which gold nanoparticles kill bacteria.
In the lab, the researchers synthesized nanoparticles in the shape of stars and near-perfect spheres, each about 100 nanometers across (an eighth of the diameter of a human hair), to see how they interacted with bacteria.
"What we found was that the bacteria around these nanoparticles began to deform and then deflated and died like a deflated balloon." "It appears that the cell wall exploded," said Vladimir Baulin of the Chemical engineering department at the University of Rovira-Wilhelli, one of the researchers.
To test this theory, researchers built models of bacteria and observed their interactions with gold particles just 100 nanometers across.
The results show that the uniform nature of the surface layers of these nanoparticles exerts a mechanical force that stretches the cell walls of the surrounding bacteria, causing the bacteria to burst, much like a balloon bursting when stretched from different points of use.
The study was conducted by The Universitat Rovira I Virgili in Spain, the University of Grenoble in France, and the Universitat des Saarlandes in Germany, RMIT University, Australia, and published in Advanced Materials.
Gold nanoparticles are tiny particles of gold with a diameter of 1-100nm. They have high electron density, dielectric properties, and catalytic effect, and can bind with a variety of biological macromolecules without affecting their biological activity.
Gold nanoparticles come in two forms: solid powder and liquid solution.
Gold nanoparticles solution is sols dispersed in an aqueous solution. Its color is related to a number of factors. Small gold nanoparticles (2-5nm) appear yellow, medium gold nanoparticles (10-20nm) appear wine red, and larger gold nanoparticles (30-80nm) appear purplish red. In addition, it has the characteristics of nanoparticles, quantum size effect, surface effect, volume effect, and macroscopic quantum tunneling effect.
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