The Biocompatibility and Antibacterial Properties of Collagen-stabilized, Photochemically Prepared Silver Nanoparticles
Spherical 3.5 nm diameter silver nanoparticles (AgNP) stabilized in type I collagen (AgNP@collagen) were prepared in minutes (5–15 min) at room temperature by a photochemical method initiated by UVA irradiation of a water-soluble non-toxic benzoin. This biocomposite was examined to evaluate its biocompatibility and its anti-bacterial properties and showed remarkable properties. Thus, while keratinocytes and fibroblasts were not affected by AgNP@collagen, it was bactericidal against Bacillus megaterium and E. coli but only bacteriostatic against S. epidermidis. In particular, the bactericidal properties displayed by AgNP@collagen were proven to be due to AgNP in AgNP@collagen, rather than to released silver ions, since equimolar concentrations of Ag are about four times less active than AgNP@collagen based on total Ag content. This new biocomposite was stable over a remarkable range of NaCl, phosphate, and 2-(N-morpholino)ethanesulfonic acid concentrations and for over one month at 4 °C. Circular dichroism studies show that the conformation of collagen in AgNP@collagen remains intact. Finally, we have compared the properties of AgNP@collagen with a similar biocomposite prepared using α-poly-l-Lysine and also with citrate stabilized AgNP; neither of these materials showed comparable biocompatibility, stability, or anti-bacterial activity.