Healthcare-associated infections and the rise of drug-resistant bacteria pose significant challenges to existing antibiotic therapies. Silver nanocomposites are a promising solution to the current crisis, however their therapeutic application requires improved understanding of underpinning structure-function relationships. A family of chemically and structurally modified mesoporous SBA-15 silicas were synthesized as porous host matrices to tune the physicochemical properties of silver nanoparticles. Physicochemical characterization by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES) and porosimetry demonstrate that functionalization by a titania monolayer and the incorporation of macroporosity both increase silver nanoparticle dispersion throughout the silica matrix, thereby promoting Ag₂CO₃ formation and the release of ionic silver in simulated tissue fluid. The Ag₂CO₃ concentration within functionalized porous architectures is a strong predictor for antibacterial efficacy against a broad spectrum of pathogens, including C. difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
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- surface functionalization