According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food wastage still causes massive economic loss. A major role in this loss is played by the activities of microbial organisms. Treatments such as heat and irradiation can reduce microorganisms in fruits and vegetables and hence reduce postharvest loss. However, some of these treatments can injure the fruit. Effective chemical treatments against bacterial infestations can result in resistance. A more recent method is the use of silver nanoparticles. These can act in a number of ways including at cellular level by inhibiting the cell wall synthesis, by binding to the surface of the cell membrane and by interposing between the DNA base pairs, and by inhibiting biofilm formation, affecting the thiol group of enzymes, affecting bacterial peptides and hence interfering with cell signaling and attaching to the 30S ribosome subunit. A ground-breaking way to survey the effects of the silver nanoparticles on bacterial populations is by flow cytometry. It allows measurement of many characteristics of single cells, including their functional characteristics such as viability and cell cycle. Bacterial viability assays are used with great efficiency to evaluate antibacterial activity by evaluating the physical rupture of the membrane of the bacteria.
Part of the book: Pathogenic Bacteria