Using Biology to Build Silver Nanoparticles

Synthetic biologists at Harvard Medical School and Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have devised a new, more environmentally sustainable way to produce antimicrobial silver nanoparticles at the mesoscale using biological rather than inorganic chemical methods.

The new technique from the laboratory of Pamela Silver, described in ACS Synthetic Biology, reengineers bacterial capsules to absorb silver ions that form 13- to 15-nanometer-wide spheres of elemental silver under ambient environmental conditions.

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