The inhibitory capability of various low concentrations of six kinds of metal ions [silver(I), copper(II), cobalt(II), nickel(II), zinc(II), and dichromate] for pathogenic bacterial (gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA, gram-negative bacteria Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) growth was quantitatively determined exactly. Residual metal-ion concentrations in a phosphate buffer solution after being incubated with pathogenic bacteria were then measured by an atomic-absorption spectrophotometer. We found that the inhibitory capability of metal ions correlated with the residual metal concentrations. Based on the biochemical and chemical situation, the mechanisms of the inhibitory capability of the metal ions are discussed. In addition, the determined minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of metal ions on tested bacteria are considered.
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