Environmental catalysis and materials

Antimicrobial activity of thin metallic silver flakes, waste products of amanufacturing process

Manuela Anzano , Alessandra Tosti , Marina Lasagni , Alfredo Campiglio , Demetrio Pitea , Elena Collina


Received October 19, 2010,Revised April 06, 2011, Accepted , Available online

Volume 23,2011,Pages 1570-1577

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The aim of the research was to develop new products and processes from a manufacturing waste from an Italian metallurgic company. The company produced thin silver metallic films and the production scraps were silver flakes. The possibility to use the silver flakes in water disinfection processes was studied. The antimicrobial activity of the flakes was investigated in batch using Escherichia coli as Gram-negative microorganism model. The flakes did not show any antimicrobial activity, so they were activated with two different processes: thermal activation in reducing atmosphere and chemical activation, obtaining, respectively, reduced flakes (RF) and chemical flakes (CF). The flakes, activated with either treatment, showed antimicrobial activity against E. coli. The kill rate was dependent on the type of activated flakes. The chemical flakes were more efficient than reduced flakes. The kill rate determined for 1 g of CF, 1.0 0.2 min??1, was greater than the kill rate determined for 1 g of RF, 0.069 0.004 min??1. This was confirmed also by the minimum inhibitory concentration values. It was demonstrated that the antimicrobial capability was dependent on flakes amount and on the type of aqueous medium. Furthermore, the flakes maintained their properties also when used a second time. Finally, the antimicrobial activities of flakes were tested in an effluent of a wastewater treatment plant where a variety of heterotrophic bacteria were present.

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