Silver nanoparticles to enhance antimicrobial effect of antibiotics

Antibiotic resistant bacteria are a serious health risk in both human and veterinary medicine. A study was conducted at IRTA-CReSA with the aim to evaluate the antibacterial effects of combined silver nanoparticles with antibiotics against veterinary bacteria that show resistance to antibiotics. This study was performed by Monika Smekalova, from Olomuc University (Czech Republic) during her stay in IRTA-CReSA.

La Dra. Virginia Aragón (esq) amb Monika Smekalova (dreta).

Dra. Virginia Aragón (left) with Monika Smekalova (right).



Different combinations were tested and the antibacterial activity of each was classified as:

  • Synergistic
  • Additive (only the sum of separate effects of drugs)
  • Indifferent (no effect)
  • Antagonistic

Seven combinations were synergistic, 17 additive and 16 indifferent. None of the tested combinations showed an antagonistic effect. The majority of synergistic effects were observed for combinations of silver nanoparticles given together with gentamicin, but the highest enhancement of antibacterial activity was found with combined therapy with penicillin G against Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae  an importnat respiratory pathogen of pigs. Interestingly, A. pleuropneumoniae and Pasteurella multocida originally resistant to amoxycillin, gentamicin and colistin were sensitive to these antibiotics when combined with silver nanoparticles.

The study shows that silver nanoparticles have an interesting  potential as adjuvants for the treatment of animal bacterial diseases.

Nanopartícules de plata.

Silver nanoparticles.


This study has been published in the Veterinary Journal:

Vet J. 2016. 209:174-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2015.10.032. Enhanced antibacterial effect of antibiotics in combination with silver nanoparticles against animal pathogens. Smekalova M, Aragon V, Panacek A, Prucek R, Zboril R, Kvitek L

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