Encyclopedia of Metalloproteins

2013 Edition
| Editors: Robert H. Kretsinger, Vladimir N. Uversky, Eugene A. Permyakov

Silver, Pharmacological and Toxicological Profile as Antimicrobial Agent in Medical Devices

  • Alan B. G. LansdownEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-1533-6_562



Silver is a white lustrous transitional metallic element found widely in the human environment. Low concentrations of silver accumulate in the human body through inhalation of particles in the air and contamination of the diet and drinking water. Silver serves no trace metal value in the human body. Increasing use of silver as an antibacterial and antifungal agent in wound care products, medical devices (bone cements, catheters, surgical sutures, cardiovascular prostheses, and dental fillings), textiles, cosmetics, and even domestic appliances in recent years has lead to concern as to the safety aspects of the metal and potential risks associated with absorption of the biologically active Ag+ into the human body.

Silver exists in its elemental form in natural deposits and in complexes with lead, copper, arsenic, and mercury. Metallic silver is inert...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineImperial CollegeLondonUK