Nanomedicine has the potential in enhancing the efficacy and bioavailability of anti-infective agents. Here we determined whether conjugation of the Malaysian cultivated seaweed Kappaphycus alvarezii with silver-conjugated nanoparticles enhanced anti-acanthamoebic properties. Silver-conjugated K. alvarezii were successfully synthesized, followed by characterization with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry, and transmission electron microscopy. Amoebicidal effects were evaluated against Acanthamoeba castellanii, and cytotoxicity assays were performed using HaCaT cells. Viability assays revealed that silver nanoparticles conjugated with K. alvarezii extract exhibited significant antiamoebic properties (P < 0.05). Nano-conjugates induced the production of reactive oxygen species. Importantly, silver-conjugated extract inhibited amoeba-mediated host cell damage as established by lactate dehydrogenase release. Neither the nano-conjugates nor the extract showed cytotoxicity against human cells in vitro. Liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy revealed several molecules, including 2,6-nonadien-1-ol, N-desmethyl trifluoperazine, dulciol B, lucidumol A, acetoxolone, 2-[4,6-bis(2,4-dimethylphenyl)-1,3,5-triazin-2-yl]-5-(octyloxy)phenol, C16 sphinganine, 22-tricosenoic acid, and β-dihydrorotenone, of which dulciol B and C16 sphinganine are known to possess antimicrobial activities. In summary, marine organisms are an important source of bioactive molecules with anti-acanthamoebic properties that can be enhanced by conjugating with silver nanoparticles. Natural products combined with nanotechnology using multifunctional nanoparticle complexes can deliver therapeutic agents effectively and hold promise in the development of new formulations of anti-acanthamoebic agents.

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