Silver Nanocluster Antibiotics

In the medical industry most current medicines are slowly losing effectiveness as a result of bacterial resistance to currently available antibiotics. Because of this, despite enormous effort by pharmaceutical companies everywhere, there does not presently exist a bullet-proof antimicrobial agent. Contemporary solutions presently available are few and far between and must be employed by way of trial and error, while also incurring a significant cost overall. This specific problem has led UTSA researchers to develop a new nano-cluster antibiotic. UTSA researchers have developed a novel nano-cluster antibiotic utilizing silver atoms. What sets our subject cluster apart is its enhanced efficacy and versatility attributed to the synergetic effect of its individual components in attacking the microbial cell wall and cell membrane. The bio-affinity of the lipoate ligand allows the cluster to permeate microbial biofilm, cell wall, and phospholipid membrane. In addition, the beta-lactam moiety of penicillanic acid derivatives allow the cluster to lyse the microbial cell wall. Once the microbial defenses are broken, the cluster disintegrates the silver ions with the concomitant generation of reactive oxygen species that degrade the cell’s DNA and protein, essential to the microbe’s existence. Further our cluster’s efficiency can be further optimized by controlling the cluster charge, the degree of conjugation, the length and shape of the penicillanic acid derivative, and the cluster concentration. Christine Burke (210) 458-8140

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