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Volume 50, Number 4, August 2017

Toxic effect of high concentration of sonochemically synthesized polyvinylpyrrolidone-coated silver nanoparticles on Citrobacter sp. A1 and Enterococcus sp. C1 

Chew Ping Lau, Mohd Firdaus Abdul-Wahab, Jafariah Jaafar, Giek Far Chan, Noor Aini Abdul Rashid


Corresponding author:

Noor Aini Abdul Rashid, Corresponding author. Block T02, Faculty of Biosciences and Medical Engineering (FBME), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), 81310 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia. 


Background and purpose: 

Currently, silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have gained importance in various industrial applications. However, their impact upon release into the environment on microorganisms remains unclear. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of polyvinylpyrrolidone-capped AgNPs synthesized in this laboratory on two bacterial strains isolated from the environment, Gram-negative Citrobacter sp. A1 and Gram-positive Enterococcus sp. C1.




Polyvinylpyrrolidone-capped AgNPs were synthesized by ultrasound-assisted chemical reduction. Characterization of the AgNPs involved UV–visible spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Citrobacter sp. A1 and Enterococcus sp. C1 were exposed to varying concentrations of AgNPs, and cell viability was determined. Scanning electron microscopy was performed to evaluate the morphological alteration of both species upon exposure to AgNPs at 1000 mg/L.




The synthesized AgNPs were spherical in shape, with an average particle size of 15 nm. The AgNPs had different but prominent effects on either Citrobacter sp. A1 or Enterococcus sp. C1. At an AgNP concentration of 1000 mg/L, Citrobacter sp. A1 retained viability for 6 hours, while Enterococcus sp. C1 retained viability only for 3 hours. Citrobacter sp. A1 appeared to be more resistant to AgNPs than Enterococcus sp. C1. The cell wall of both strains was found to be morphologically altered at that concentration. 



Minute and spherical AgNPs significantly affected the viability of the two bacterial strains selected from the environment. Enterococcus sp. C1 was more vulnerable to AgNPs, probably due to its cell wall architecture and the absence of silver resistance-related genes. 


Key words:

Citrobacter sp. A1, Enterococcus sp. C1, silver nanoparticles, tolerance level, toxic effect