A study published in International Journal of Microbiology has shown that two common Indonesian medicinal plants can be used to synthesize silver nanoparticles in aqueous leaf extracts that can then strongly inhibit bacterial growth.
Silver is a strong antibacterial agent that is even more potent in nanoparticle form; however, silver nanoparticles are typically synthesized using chemical reducing agents, which can be toxic. Scientists are therefore keen to find safer and more environmentally-friendly methods to synthesize these nanoparticles for use in healthcare situations.
A team of researchers from Sam Ratulangi University in Indonesia, led by Dr. Henry Aritonang, tested whether aqueous leaf extracts of the medicinal plants Impatiens balsamina and Lantana camara could be used as bioreducing agents to synthesize silver nanoparticles. The antibacterial activity of these water-based extracts was then compared to that of common antibiotics.
Extracts from both plants that contained silver nanoparticles inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, which are Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria, respectively. The L. camara extract demonstrated particularly strong antibacterial activity and was comparable to ciprofloxacin, a strong antibiotic, in inhibiting bacterial growth.
This study shows the potential of using bioreducing agents found in nature, and demonstrates how combining bioengineering and traditional medicine could create powerful and safe drugs.
This blog post is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). Illustration by David Jury.