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Acta Biomater. 2011 Dec;7(12):4253-8. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2011.07.007. Epub 2011 Jul 14.

Monodispersed biocompatible silver sulfide nanoparticles: facile extracellular biosynthesis using the γ-proteobacterium, Shewanella oneidensis.

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Biosciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA.


Interest in engineered metal and semiconductor nanocrystallites continues to grow due to their unique size- and shape-dependent optoelectronic, physicochemical and biological properties. Therefore identifying novel non-hazardous nanoparticle synthesis routes that address hydrophilicity, size and shape control and production costs has become a priority. In the present article we report for the first time on the efficient generation of extracellular silver sulfide (Ag₂S) nanoparticles by the metal-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis. The particles are reasonably monodispersed and homogeneously shaped. They are produced under ambient temperatures and pressures at high yield, 85% theoretical maximum. UV-visible and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements confirmed the formation, optical and surface properties, purity and crystallinity of the synthesized particles. Further characterization revealed that the particles consist of spheres with a mean diameter of 9±3.5 nm, and are capped by a detachable protein/peptide surface coat. Toxicity assessments of these biogenic Ag₂S nanoparticles on Gram-negative (Escherichia coli and S. oneidensis) and Gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis) bacterial systems, as well as eukaryotic cell lines including mouse lung epithelial (C 10) and macrophage (RAW-264.7) cells, showed that the particles were non-inhibitory and non-cytotoxic to any of these systems. Our results provide a facile, eco-friendly and economical route for the fabrication of technologically important semiconducting Ag₂S nanoparticles. These particles are dispersible and biocompatible, thus providing excellent potential for use in optical imaging, electronic devices and solar cell applications.

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