19 July 2024
Silver-based micromotors: Bacterial assassins in water

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The Potential of Silver-based Micromotors in Battling Bacterial Infections

Silver-based micromotors have emerged as a promising solution to address the challenge of antibiotic resistance. Researchers at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia have developed a groundbreaking technique to create microscopic crystals that exhibit antimicrobial properties. These micromotors, activated by light, release silver ions that effectively eliminate bacteria in aqueous environments. This innovative approach draws inspiration from the historical use of silver salts for wound care, showcasing the potential of ancient remedies in modern scientific advancements.

The Mechanism Behind the Self-Propulsion of Silver-based Micromotors

The silver-based micromotors developed by the research team at ICIQ exhibit autonomous movement in aqueous media under visible light irradiation. These micromotors, known as TAMs, are constructed from silver phosphate crystals shaped like tetrapods. When exposed to light, the TAMs undergo photocatalysis, a process where light triggers a reaction between the silver phosphate and water, leading to the release of silver ions and free radicals. These compounds not only propel the micromotors but also exert a bactericidal effect, targeting and destroying harmful bacteria present in the environment.

Enhanced Efficiency and Environmental Applications of Silver-based Micromotors

Dr. Katherine Villa, leading the research at ICIQ, highlights the synergistic effect of the micromotors, emphasizing their self-propulsion capability under light stimuli. The release of silver ions and free radicals contributes to the enhanced antibacterial activity of the micromotors, outperforming conventional silver nanoparticles. Furthermore, the ability to recover the silver nanoparticles from the water post-treatment minimizes additional contamination, making these micromotors a sustainable and efficient solution for environmental recovery.

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Future Implications and Advancements in Micromotor Technology

The development of silver-based micromotors represents a significant step towards combating antibiotic resistance and addressing environmental challenges. The self-degradable nature of these micromotors, coupled with their autonomous movement and antimicrobial properties, opens up possibilities for diverse applications in healthcare, environmental remediation, and beyond. Continued research and innovation in micromotor technology hold the potential to revolutionize how we approach bacterial infections and environmental sustainability, paving the way for a brighter and healthier future.

Links to additional Resources:

1. ICIQ 2. Nature 3. Science

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Topics: Silver-based micromotors, Antibiotic resistance, Micromotor technology

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Antimicrobial resistance
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when microbes evolve mechanisms that protect them from the effects of antimicrobials (drugs used to treat infections). All classes of microbes can evolve resistance where the drugs are no longer effective. Fungi evolve antifungal resistance, viruses evolve antiviral resistance, protozoa evolve antiprotozoal resistance, and bacteria evolve...
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