Nanosilver, also known as colloidal silver, are minute silver particles with dimensions less than 100nm. These nanoparticles usually possess different chemical and physical properties than those of larger particles of the same material.
Silver exists in various forms including silver oxides, silver nanoparticles, and silver salts which have been widely used in medical and consumer applications owing to their chemical properties such as surface-to-volume ratio and solubility. Nowadays, nanosilver along with various forms of silver have widespread use on account of their antibacterial activity. It is observed that small amounts of silver produce a number of silver ions as compared to solid silver and have properties that are harmful to bacteria. However, whether nanosilver is detrimental to humans and the environment is a subject of discussion.
The global nanosilver industry is anticipated to witness growth over the next few years as there is an increasing demand for industrial silver in varied end-use applications. Growing awareness regarding hygiene and rising antimicrobial use in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors such as catheters and wound dressings to reduce infections may augment market.
Additionally, there is an increasing use of silver nanoparticles owing to its ability to repel odour-producing bacteria in consumer products and electronics such sports, textiles, deodorants and washing powders. These antimicrobial characteristics along with superior properties including high conductivity, small size, and thermal behavior encourage use in applications including hair dryer, water & air purifier, washing machines, drugs, socks, food packaging and medical devices.
The key driver for nanosilver market is its growing application scope in numerous end-use industries. It finds its opportunities in niche segments such as food & beverage, solar energy, medicals and pharmaceuticals.
Silver showcases high catalytic activity towards many chemicals and organic conversions including catalytic oxidation of CO2 and CO and NOx reduction. Efficient use of silver (Ag) as a catalyst ensures a reduced particle size and maximized surface area. Hence, with nanosilver having these properties, it is an excellent catalyst on graphene for organic transformations. Furthermore, it is a straightforward and low-cost synthesis technique for practical applications.
Known to be a substitute for carbon nanotubes, graphene, dull silver and indium tin oxide in LEDs, OLEDs, smartphones and LCDs, the market can expect growth in demand over the next eight years. However, a requirement of high investments and funding for developing technology with nanosilver coupled with higher product cost as compared to silver may hamper product demand in the industry in the foreseeable future. Price volatility of silver could be another concern impacting the market adversely.
According to Bernd Nowack’s observations regarding the inferences of a new study on nanosilver in sewage treatment plants in the journal- Science over 90% remains in the sewage slush that is bound is in the form of silver sulfide, a material which is insoluble and is less poisonous than free silver ions. Regardless of the developed silver was in the wastewater, whether silver ions, insoluble precipitated silver salt or metallic nanoparticles.
Research by a group of Chinese scientists mentions that silver genome reactions employing silver nanoparticles induce DNA replication fidelity through the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
In their study, the influence of silver nanoparticles was discovered for the first time on the direct interaction between nanosilver and DNA was detected by atomic force microscopy and DNA replication fidelity in viva and in vitro. As silver nanoparticles suspend silver ions that have toxic effects, there have been numerous studies to confirm whether the source of this toxicity is silver ions or the nanoparticles themselves. It is suggested that the harmful characteristic of silver nanoparticles is due to their discharge of silver ions in cells and have been described to have cytotoxicity.
In 2013, nearly 35.0% of the nanosilver market was captured by electronics segment which emerged as was the largest end-use. A broad range of product offerings that include silver nanoparticles is offered by major electronic companies such as Samsung, Daewoo LG. Additionally, Nano Care Technology and Smith & Nephew are healthcare businesses that offer products containing nanosilver. Growing concern regarding self-hygiene and health may result in increasing the need for pharmaceutical products, creams lotions, and better drug delivery systems.
The ability of nanosilver particles damage and destroy bacterial cells and the enzymes that transport cell nutrient, nanoparticles have gained importance in food packaging materials such as containers, plastic bags, pallets, and films. High demand from healthcare industries and electronics market in North America is anticipated to be a key driver for the market over the next eight years. Asia Pacific is also estimated to experience considerable growth, primarily in South Korea and China, owing to upcoming electronic manufacturing facilities in these countries coupled with growing demand for these products at a global level.
The global nanosilver industry is fragmented in nature with some small manufacturers situated locally. Key industry participants include Nano Care Technology , Advanced Nano Products, Applied Nanotech Holdings, Ames Goldsmith Corporation, Bayer MaterialScience, Nano Silver Manufacturing, Creative Technology Solutions, NovaCentrix, Silvix and NanoMas Technologies.
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