Lignin, a key structural component in plants, is the focus of a new development in antimicrobials from researchers at North Carolina State University. The team engineered “silver-ion infused lignin nanoparticles” that offer an environmentally-friendly alternative to the commonly used silver nanoparticles. The antimicrobial nanoparticles have been shown to be effective against a wide range of bacteria, many of which are common culprits in personal care product deterioration.
News Drill Down
- A press release about the research found on the NC State News website explains the process the nanoparticles go through as they kill bacteria: “As the nanoparticles wipe out the targeted bacteria, they become depleted of silver. The remaining particles degrade easily after disposal because of their biocompatible lignin core, limiting risk to the environment.”
- According to Chemical & Engineering News, many products currently on the market contain silver nanoparticles that “can linger in the environment and may pose a threat to natural ecosystems.”
- E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Ralstonia, and Staphylococcus epidermis are among the wide range of bacteria the nanoparticles kill, according to the NC State News release. And, say the press release authors, “the method allows researchers the flexibility to change the nanoparticle recipe in order to target specific microbes.”
- While the research was originally focused on eliminating bacteria in food, explains an article on Cosmetics Design, the nanoparticles have applications in the personal care market and beyond.
NC State News: Environmentally Friendly Lignin Nanoparticle ‘Greens’ Silver Nanobullet to Battle Bacteria
Chemical & Engineering News: Lignin Nanoparticles Use Silver To Beat The Pulp Out Of Bacteria
Cosmetics Design: Lignin nanoparticles create ‘nanobullets’ with antibacterial properties
The original study, “An environmentally benign antimicrobial nanoparticle based on a silver-infused lignin core,” is published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
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