Antibacterial Nanomaterials: Mechanisms, Impacts on Antimicrobial Resistance and Design Principles
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to the environment and health. AMR rapidly invalidates conventional antibiotics, and antimicrobial nanomaterials have been increasingly explored as alternatives. Interestingly, several antimicrobial nanomaterials show AMR-independent antimicrobial effects without detectable new resistance and have therefore been suggested to prevent AMR evolution. In contrast, some are found to trigger the evolution of AMR. Given these seemingly conflicting findings, a timely discussion of the two faces of antimicrobial nanomaterials is urgently needed. This review systematically compares the killing mechanisms and structure-activity relationships of antibiotics and antimicrobial nanomaterials. We then focus on nano-microbe interactions to elucidate the impacts of molecular initiating events on AMR evolution. Finally, we provide an outlook on future antimicrobial nanomaterials and propose design principles for the prevention of AMR evolution.
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