Inhibition of Candida auris Biofilm Formation on Medical and Environmental Surfaces by Silver Nanoparticles

Humberto H. Lara, Liliana Ixtepan-Turrent, Miguel Jose Yacaman, Jose Lopez-Ribot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Candida auris is an emerging pathogenic fungus implicated in healthcare-associated outbreaks and causes bloodstream infections associated with high mortality rates. Biofilm formation represents one of the major pathogenetic traits associated with this microorganism. Unlike most other Candida species, C. auris has the ability to survive for weeks on different surfaces. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop new effective control strategies to combat the threat of C. auris. Advances in nanotechnologies have emerged that carry significant potential impact against Candida biofilms. We obtained pure round silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) (1 to 3 nm in diameter) using a microwave-assisted synthetic approach. When tested against C. auris, our results indicated a potent inhibitory activity both on biofilm formation (half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 0.06 ppm) and against preformed biofilms (IC50 of 0.48 ppm). Scanning electron microscopy images of AgNP-treated biofilms showed cell wall damage mostly by disruption and distortion of the outer surface of the fungal cell wall. In subsequent experiments AgNPs were used to functionalize medical and environmental surfaces. Silicone elastomers functionalized with AgNPs demonstrated biofilm inhibition (>50%) at relatively low concentrations (2.3 to 0.28 ppm). Bandage dressings loaded with AgNPs inhibited growth of C. auris biofilms by more than 80% (2.3 to 0.017 ppm). Also, to demonstrate long-lasting protection, dressings loaded with AgNPs (0.036 ppm) were washed thoroughly with phosphate-buffered saline, maintaining protection against the C. auris growth from cycles 1 to 3 (>80% inhibition) and from cycles 4 to 6 (>50% inhibition). Our results demonstrate the dose-dependent activity of AgNPs against biofilms formed by C. auris on both medical (silicone elastomer) and environmental (bandage fibers) surfaces. The AgNPs-functionalized fibers retain the fungicidal effect even after repeated thorough washes. Overall these results point to the utility of silver nanoparticles to prevent and control infections caused by this emerging pathogenic fungus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21183-21191
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 13 2020


  • Candida auris
  • bandages
  • biofilms
  • functionalized surfaces
  • silicone elastomer
  • silver nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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