The development of antimicrobial drug resistance among pathogenic bacteria and fungi is one of the most significant health issues of the 21st century. Recently, advances in nanotechnology have led to the development of nanomaterials, particularly metals that exhibit antimicrobial properties. These metal nanomaterials have emerged as promising alternatives to traditional antimicrobial therapies. In this review, a broad overview of metal nanomaterials, their synthesis, properties, and interactions with pathogenic micro-organisms is first provided. Secondly, the range of nanomaterials that demonstrate passive antimicrobial properties are outlined and in-depth analysis and comparison of stimuli-responsive antimicrobial nanomaterials are provided, which represent the next generation of microbiocidal nanomaterials. The stimulus applied to activate such nanomaterials includes light (including photocatalytic and photothermal) and magnetic fields, which can induce magnetic hyperthermia and kinetically driven magnetic activation. Broadly, this review aims to summarize the currently available research and provide future scope for the development of metal nanomaterial-based antimicrobial technologies, particularly those that can be activated through externally applied stimuli.
- antimicrobial metal nanomaterials