Abstract: Nanotechnology is a promising science with new aspects to fight and prevent various diseases using nanomaterials. The capability to expose the structure and functions of biosystems at the nanoscale level supports research leading to development in biology, biotechnology, medicine and healthcare. This is predominantly advantageous in treating microbial infections as an alternative to antibiotics. However, widespread production, and use and misuse of antibiotics have led to the emergence of multiple-drug resistant (MDR) pathogenic bacteria. Due to infectious diseases from these drug-resistant pathogenic strains, human mortality rates have consistently increased and are becoming an epidemic in our society. Consequently, there is a strong demand for developing novel strategies and new materials that can cope with these problems. The emergence of nanotechnology has created many new antimicrobial options. The small size of these nanomaterials is suitable for carrying out biological operations. Several metals and metal oxides, such as silver, copper, gold, zinc oxide and iron oxide nanoparticle types, have shown toxicity toward several pathogenic microbes. Metal-based nanoparticles have been broadly examined for a set of biomedical applications. According to the World Health Organization, the reduced size and selectivity of metal-based nanoparticles for bacteria have established them to be effective against pathogens, causing concern. Metal-based nanoparticles are known to have non-specific bacterial toxicity mechanisms, which not only make the development of resistance by bacteria difficult, but also widen the spectrum of antibacterial activity. Metal-based nanoparticle efficiency studies achieved so far have revealed promising results against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Here we discuss the potential nanomaterials to either treat microbial resistance or induce the development of resistance. However, fundamental research is required to focus on the molecular mechanism causing the antimicrobial activity of nanomaterials.

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