Development of an environmentally benign process for the synthesis of silver nanomaterials is an important aspect of current nanotechnology research. Among the 600 species of the genus Dioscorea, Dioscorea bulbifera has profound therapeutic applications due to its unique phytochemistry. In this paper, we report on the rapid synthesis of silver nanoparticles by reduction of aqueous Ag+ ions using D. bulbifera tuber extract.
Methods and results
Phytochemical analysis revealed that D. bulbifera tuber extract is rich in flavonoid, phenolics, reducing sugars, starch, diosgenin, ascorbic acid, and citric acid. The biosynthesis process was quite fast, and silver nanoparticles were formed within 5 hours. Ultraviolet-visible absorption spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy, and x-ray diffraction confirmed reduction of the Ag+ ions. Varied morphology of the bioreduced silver nanoparticles included spheres, triangles, and hexagons. Optimization studies revealed that the maximum rate of synthesis could be achieved with 0.7 mM AgNO3 solution at 50°C in 5 hours. The resulting silver nanoparticles were found to possess potent antibacterial activity against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. Beta-lactam (piperacillin) and macrolide (eryth-romycin) antibiotics showed a 3.6-fold and 3-fold increase, respectively, in combination with silver nanoparticles selectively against multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii. Notable synergy was seen between silver nanoparticles and chloramphenicol or vancomycin against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and was supported by a 4.9-fold and 4.2-fold increase in zone diameter, respectively. Similarly, we found a maximum 11.8-fold increase in zone diameter of streptomycin when combined with silver nanoparticles against E. coli, providing strong evidence for the synergistic action of a combination of antibiotics and silver nanoparticles.
This is the first report on the synthesis of silver nanoparticles using D. bulbifera tuber extract followed by an estimation of its synergistic potential for enhancement of the antibacterial activity of broad spectrum antimicrobial agents.