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Nanotechnology. 2011 Feb 18;22(7):075101. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/22/7/075101. Epub 2011 Jan 14.

The synthesis and characterization of poly(γ-glutamic acid)-coated magnetite nanoparticles and their effects on antibacterial activity and cytotoxicity.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, Fu Jen University, Taipei, Taiwan.


Magnetite nanoparticles (MNPs) modified with sodium and calcium salts of poly(γ-glutamic acid) (NaPGA and CaPGA) were synthesized by the coprecipitation method, followed by characterization and evaluation of their antibacterial and cytotoxic effects. Superparamagnetic MNPs are particularly attractive for magnetic driving as well as bacterial biofilm and cell targeting in in vivo applications. Characterization of synthesized MNPs by the Fourier transform infrared spectra and magnetization curves confirmed the PGA coating on MNPs. The mean diameter of NaPGA- and CaPGA-coated MNPs as determined by transmission electron microscopy was 11.8 and 14 nm, respectively, while the x-ray diffraction pattern revealed the as-synthesized MNPs to be pure magnetite. Based on agar dilution assay, both NaPGA- and CaPGA-coated MNPs showed a lower minimum inhibitory concentration in Salmonella enteritidis SE 01 than the commercial antibiotics linezolid and cefaclor, but the former was effective against Escherichia coli ATCC 8739 and Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 10832, whereas the latter was effective against Escherichia coli O157:H7 TWC 01. An in vitro cytotoxicity study in human skin fibroblast cells as measured by MTT assay implied the as-synthesized MNPs to be nontoxic. This outcome demonstrated that both γ-PGA-modified MNPs are cytocompatible and possess antibacterial activity in vitro, and thereby should be useful in in vivo studies for biomedical applications.

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