Silver and most silver compounds have an oligodynamic effect and are toxic for bacteria, algae, and fungi in vitro. The antibacterial action of silver is dependent on the silver ion. The effectiveness of silver compounds as an antiseptic is based on the ability of the biologically active silver ion (Ag+) to irreversibly damage key enzyme systems in the cell membranes of pathogens. The antibacterial action of silver has long been known to be enhanced by the presence of an electric field. Applying an electric current across silver electrodes enhances antibiotic action at the anode, likely due to the release of silver into the bacterial culture. The antibacterial action of electrodes coated with silver nanostructures is greatly improved in the presence of an electric field.