This World Health Orgainization report explores silver as a water disinfectant. It kills a wide variety of bacteria, and fungi without leaving a residue or many chemicals in the water.
Silver has been known to have antibacterial properties since Roman times, however, the increased use of nanosilver in a range of (as yet largely) ex
perimental drinking-water treatment systems, its use in conjunction with ceramic filters and its perceived potential to be a water disinfectant that
does not result in disinfection by-products (DBP) in the treated water have raised the profile of this chemical.
Silver and AgNP have been shown to have general (i.e. not specifically water disinfection related) anti-bacterial properties against a range of both Gram-negative (e.g. Acinetobacter, Escherichia
, Pseudomonas, Salmonella and
Vibrio) and Gram-positive bacteria (e.g. Bacillus
, Staphylococcus and
Streptococcus) – Wijnhoven
et al. (2009). Some researchers have also demonstrated that fungi, such
as Aspergillus niger
, Candida albicans and
Saccharomyces cerevisia, are sensitive to silver (reviewed by Marambio-Jon
es and Hoek, 2010). In addition, a number of studies have suggested a bioc
idal action of AgNP against hepatitis B virus (Lu
et al., 2008), HIV-1 (Elechiguerra
et al., 2005), syncital virus (Sun
et al., 2008) and murine norovirus
(De Gusseme et al. , 2010).
Later on (page 4), the report summarizes research on how quickly silver kills pathogens. Silver works relatively slowly, but hangs around for a while.
It can be seen from these studies that log reductions varied widely with some bacteria being more sensitive to silver (i.e. more easily killed or ina
ctivated) than others. Generally, relatively long contact times were required to effectively reduce bacterial concentrations (e.g. 3 hours or longer), ...
I wasn't able to find anything specifically about how boiling combines with silver, but it seems like the two treatments should go together pretty well. Boiling works quickly and kills all of the bacteria, but once the water cools it can be reinfected if it isn't drunk soon. Silver works slowly and inhibits bacterial growth even at low concentrations. Sounds like a good one-two punch.