Papers And Originals

Mechanism of Prophylaxis by Silver Compounds against Infection of Burns

Br Med J 1970; 2 doi: (Published 23 May 1970) Cite this as: Br Med J 1970;2:444
  1. C. R. Ricketts,
  2. E. J. L. Lowbury,
  3. J. C. Lawrence,
  4. M. Hall,
  5. M. D. Wilkins


    To clarify tthe mechanism by which local application of silver compounds protects burns against infection, an ion-specific electrode was used to measùre the concentration of silver ions in solutions. By this method it was shown that in burn dressings silver ions were reduced to a very low level by precipitation as silver chloride. The antibacterial effect was found to depend on the availability of silver ions from solution in contact with precipitate. Between 10-5 and 10-6 molar silver nitrate solution in water was rapidly bactericidal. The minimal amount of silver nitrate causing inhibition of respiration of skin in tissue culture was about 25 times the minimal concentration of silver nitrate that inhibited growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.