Questions for ‘Nanosilver: Naughty or nice?’

Rod-shaped bacteria are shown dotted with silver nanoparticles. The very tiny silver particles can kill those bacteria.

ZEISS Microscopy/Flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

To accompany feature  ‘Nanosilver: Naughty or nice?’


Before reading:

1.   Scientists, engineers, artisans and health professionals can all silver for different purposes. Name three types of applications for which they might rely on silver. 

During reading:

1.    What are some of the biological qualities of silver?

2.    How did the Romans likely learn about silver’s antibiotic effect?

3.    In what sorts of consumer products has silver shown up over the last decade?

4.    What is nanosilver?

5.    Define ion.

6.    Describe the most pronounced effect of argyria.

7.    Explain how to make colloidal silver.

8.    Why would it be so alarming to find nanosilver causes DNA damage to bone marrow?

9.    What can a nanoparticle’s coating, size and shape affect?

10.  How does nanosilver end up in the environment? What is its source? Step-by-step, describe how it enters and where it might end up.

After reading:

1.    Would a heaping spoonful of nanosilver have a larger or smaller surface area than the silver spoon itself? Assume both have the same mass.

2.    How did the study published in ACS Nano confirm what the Romans had seemed to figure out 2,000 years earlier?

3.    What conflicting conclusions did the experiments led by Maynard and Reliene reach? What message would you derive from this conflict?