A layered double hydroxide (LDH) surface was employed as a substrate for growing silver nanoparticles (NPs). An efficient method to produce stable silver/silver chloride nanoparticles supported on the ZnAl-LDH surface was developed. NPs of AgCl were grown on the ZnAl-LDH surface by using AgNO3 as the silver source. The ZnAl-LDH in chloride form acts as a nucleating agent, and depending on the pH of the LDH dispersion, AgClNPs with different dimensions were obtained. In particular AgClNPs with a diameter of 60 nm were formed at pH 5. The AgClNPs supported on LDH sheets were partially reduced by different reducing agents (NaBH4 and formaldehyde) resulting in a Ag/AgCl-LDH nanocomposite. The silver chloride and silver NP dimensions were evaluated by X-ray powder diffraction, field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). UV-Vis spectra of the samples upon reduction showed a band centred at 415 nm due to the surface plasmon resonance of silver nanoparticles with a diameter of about 10 nm, in agreement with the TEM analysis. The AgCl-LDH and Ag/AgCl-LDH nanocomposites, subjected to antimicrobial tests, exhibited good antimicrobial activity against both Gram-negative (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and Gram-positive (Staphylococcus epidermidis and S. aureus) bacteria and yeast (Candida albicans). The nanocomposites were also studied for their ability to release silver by obtaining release curves, under conditions of antibacterial assays. Finally, the nanocomposites antibacterial behavior, as a function of time, was investigated by performing time–kill experiments using S. aureus and Candida albicans.
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