Combination of silver nanoparticles and curcumin nanoparticles for enhanced anti-biofilm activities

Ching Yee Loo, Ramin Rohanizadeh, Paul M. Young, Daniela Traini, Rosalia Cavaliere, Cynthia B. Whitchurch, Wing-Hin Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


Biofilm tolerance has become a serious clinical concern in the treatment of nosocomial pneumonia owing to the resistance to various antibiotics. There is an urgent need to develop alternative antimicrobial agents or combination drug therapies that are effective via different mechanisms. Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have been developed as an anti-biofilm agent for the treatment of infections associated with the use of mechanical ventilations, such as endotracheal intubation. Meanwhile curcumin, a phenolic plant extract, has displayed natural anti-biofilm properties through the inhibition of bacterial quorum sensing systems. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible synergistic/additive interactions of AgNPs and curcumin nanoparticles (Cur-NPs) against both Gram-negative (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus) microorganisms. The combination of AgNPs and Cur-NPs (termed Cur-SNPs) at 100 μg/mL disrupted 50% of established bacterial biofilms (formed on microtiter plates). However, further increase in the concentration of Cur-SNPs failed to effectively eliminate the biofilms. To achieve the same effect, at least 500 μg/mL Cur-NP alone was needed. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) revealed that combination therapy (Cur-SNPs) was the most potent to eradicate preformed biofilm compared to monodrug therapy. These agents are also nontoxic to healthy human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS2B).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2513-2522
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • biofilm
  • combination therapy
  • nanoparticles
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Staphylococcus aureus


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