Silver-Ion-Exchanged Nanostructured Zeolite X as Antibacterial Agent with Superior Ion Release Kinetics and Efficacy against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Shaojiang Chen, John Popovich, Natalie Iannuzo, Shelley Haydel, Dong Seo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


As antibiotic resistance continues to be a major public health problem, antimicrobial alternatives have become critically important. Nanostructured zeolites have been considered as an ideal host for improving popular antimicrobial silver-ion-exchanged zeolites, because with very short diffusion path lengths they offer advantages in ion diffusion and release over their conventional microsized zeolite counterparts. Herein, comprehensive studies are reported on materials characteristics, silver-ion release kinetics, and antibacterial properties of silver-ion-exchanged nanostructured zeolite X with comparisons to conventional microsized silver-ion-exchanged zeolite (∼2 μm) as a reference. The nanostructured zeolites are submicrometer-sized aggregates (100-700 nm) made up of primary zeolite particles with an average primary particle size of 24 nm. The silver-ion-exchanged nanostructured zeolite released twice the concentration of silver ions at a rate approximately three times faster than the reference. The material exhibited rapid antimicrobial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values ranging from 4 to 16 μg/mL after 24 h exposure in various growth media and a minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC; >99.9% population reduction) of 1 μg/mL after 2 h in water. While high concentrations of silver-ion-exchanged nanostructured zeolite X were ineffective at reducing MRSA biofilm cell viability, efficacy increased at lower concentrations. In consideration of potential medical applications, cytotoxicity of the silver-ion-exchanged nanostructured zeolite X was also investigated. After 4 days of incubation, significant reduction in eukaryotic cell viability was observed only at concentrations 4-16-fold greater than the 24 h MIC, indicating low cytotoxicity of the material. Our results establish silver-ion-exchanged nanostructured zeolites as an effective antibacterial material against dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39271-39282
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 15 2017


  • MRSA
  • antibacterial
  • antimicrobial
  • antimicrobial susceptibility
  • methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • nanostructured zeolites
  • rapid ion release kinetics
  • silver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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