The ability of nitric oxide (NO)-releasing silica nanoparticles to kill biofilm-based microbial cells is reported. Biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Candida albicans were formed in vitro and exposed to NO-releasing silica nanoparticles. Replicative viability experiments revealed that >or= 99% of cells from each type of biofilm were killed via NO release, with the greatest efficacy (>or= 99.999% killing) against gram-negative P. aeruginosa and E. coli biofilms. Cytotoxicity testing demonstrated that the highest dose of NO-releasing silica nanoparticles inhibited fibroblast proliferation to a lesser extent than clinical concentrations of currently administered antiseptics (e.g., chlorhexidine) with proven wound-healing benefits. This study demonstrates the promise of employing nanoparticles for delivering an antimicrobial agent to microbial biofilms.
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