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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2012, Article ID 185029, 7 pages
Research Article

Activity of Antimicrobial Silver Polystyrene Nanocomposites

1Istituto per i Materiali Compositi e Biomedici, CNR, Piazzale Tecchio 80, 80125 Napoli, Italy
2Istituto di Cibernetica, CNR, Via Campi Flegrei 34, 80078 Pozzuoli, Italy
3Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche, Sociali e della Comunicazione, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Via Ponte don Melillo, 84084 Fisciano, Italy
4Istituto Nazionale di Ottica, CNR, Via Campi Flegrei 34, 80078 Pozzuoli, Italy
5INFN Sezione di Napoli, Via Cintia (Complesso Monte S. Angelo), 80126 Napoli, Italy

Received 24 June 2012; Accepted 22 October 2012

Academic Editor: Kin Tak Lau

Copyright © 2012 M. Palomba et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A simple technique based on doping polymers with in situ generated silver nanoparticles (Ag/PS films) has been developed. In particular, an antiseptic material has been prepared by dissolving silver 1,5-cyclooctadiene-hexafluoroacetylacetonate in amorphous polystyrene, and the obtained solid solution has been heated for ca. 10 s at a convenient temperature (180°C). Under such conditions the metal precursor decomposes producing silver atoms that diffuse into the polymer and clusterize. The antimicrobial characteristics of the resulting polystyrene-based material have been accurately evaluated toward Escherichia coli (E. coli) comparing the cytotoxicity effect of 10 wt.% and 30 wt.% (drastic and mild annealing) silver-doped polystyrene to the corresponding pure micrometric silver powder. Two different bacterial viability assays were performed in order to demonstrate the cytotoxic effect of Ag/PS films on cultured E. coli: (1) turbidimetric determination of optical density; (2) BacLight fluorescence-based test. Both methods have shown that silver-doped polystyrene (30 wt.%) provides higher antibacterial activity than pure Ag powder, under similar concentration and incubation conditions.