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PUBLICATION NOTICE: Determining the Bacterial Cytotoxicity of Silver Nanomaterials Scientific Operating Procedure Series: Toxicity (T) 

US Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Published July 24, 2019

The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center has published the report/note described and linked below. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. 

Report Number:



Determining the Bacterial Cytotoxicity of Silver Nanomaterials Scientific Operating Procedure Series: Toxicity (T) 


Paul B. Schweiger, Brittany Twibell, Marshal Blank, and Alan J. Kennedy


Materials at the nanoscale have physiochemical properties that differ from their bulk material. Consequently, the growing use of nanomaterials in industrial and consumer products raise important questions about their environmental fate. The potential cytotoxic effects on microbial communities is an important safety and material life cycle consideration, as microorganisms play a vital role in environmental nutrient cycling, influence health, and disease of plants and animals, including humans. This Scientific Operating Procedure (SOP) describes a set of methods to determine the cytotoxic effects of nanomaterials on bacteria. Initial growth effects, including minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC), can be monitored by a standardized microplate broth dilution assay when the nanomaterials stay suspended and do not inhibit optical density (OD) measurements. When these requirements are not met, a solid agar dilution plate MIC assay can be used whereby toxicity is determined by colony counts on agar plates. A standard minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) assay is also detailed and can elucidated the mode of action of nanomaterials that have an MIC.

39 pgs / 1.4 mb


ERDC is a diverse research organization with approximately 2,000 employees operating more than $1 billion in world class facilities at seven laboratories. Its annual program exceeds $1 billion as it supports the Department of Defense and other agencies in military and civilian projects. Principal research areas include Soldier support, Engineered Resilient Systems, Environmental Quality and Installations, Geospatial Research and Engineering, Military Engineering, and Water Resources.  “Discover ▪ Develop ▪ Deliver”

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