Production of Silver Nano-Inks and Surface Coatings for Anti-Microbial Food Packaging and Its Ecological Impact

N. Arul Manikandan, Ronan McCann, Dimitrios Kakavas, Keith D. Rochfort, Sithara P. Sreenilayam, Godze Alkan, Tom Stornetta, Allan Robert McGivern, Konstantinos Grintzalis, Bernd Friedrich, Greg Foley, Dermot Brabazon, Brian Freeland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Food spoilage is an ongoing global issue that contributes to rising carbon dioxide emissions and increased demand for food processing. This work developed anti-bacterial coatings utilising inkjet printing of silver nano-inks onto food-grade polymer packaging, with the potential to enhance food safety and reduce food spoilage. Silver nano-inks were synthesised via laser ablation synthesis in solution (LaSiS) and ultrasound pyrolysis (USP). The silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) produced using LaSiS and USP were characterised using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, UV-Vis spectrophotometry and dynamic light scattering (DLS) analysis. The laser ablation technique, operated under recirculation mode, produced nanoparticles with a small size distribution with an average diameter ranging from 7-30 nm. Silver nano-ink was synthesised by blending isopropanol with nanoparticles dispersed in deionised water. The silver nano-inks were printed on plasma-cleaned cyclo-olefin polymer. Irrespective of the production methods, all silver nanoparticles exhibited strong antibacterial activity against E. coli with a zone of inhibition exceeding 6 mm. Furthermore, silver nano-inks printed cyclo-olefin polymer reduced the bacterial cell population from 1235 (±45) × 106 cell/mL to 960 (±110) × 106 cell/mL. The bactericidal performance of silver-coated polymer was comparable to that of the penicillin-coated polymer, wherein a reduction in bacterial population from 1235 (±45) × 106 cell/mL to 830 (±70) × 106 cell/mL was observed. Finally, the ecotoxicity of the silver nano-ink printed cyclo-olefin polymer was tested with daphniids, a species of water flea, to simulate the release of coated packaging into a freshwater environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5341
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2023


  • antibacterial
  • food packaging
  • laser ablation
  • silver nanoparticles
  • ultrasound pyrolysis


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