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J R Soc Interface. 2013 Jul 24;10(87):20130392. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2013.0392. Print 2013 Oct 6.

Isolation and chemical analysis of nanoparticles from English ivy (Hedera helix L.).

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Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA.


Bio-inspiration for novel adhesive development has drawn increasing interest in recent years with the discovery of the nanoscale morphology of the gecko footpad and mussel adhesive proteins. Similar to these animal systems, it was discovered that English ivy (Hedera helix L.) secretes a high strength adhesive containing uniform nanoparticles. Recent studies have demonstrated that the ivy nanoparticles not only contribute to the high strength of this adhesive, but also have ultraviolet (UV) protective abilities, making them ideal for sunscreen and cosmetic fillers, and may be used as nanocarriers for drug delivery. To make these applications a reality, the chemical nature of the ivy nanoparticles must be elucidated. In the current work, a method was developed to harvest bulk ivy nanoparticles from an adventitious root culture system, and the chemical composition of the nanoparticles was analysed. UV/visible spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and electrophoresis were used in this study to identify the chemical nature of the ivy nanoparticles. Based on this analysis, we conclude that the ivy nanoparticles are proteinaceous.


English ivy; bioadhesive; nanocomposite; nanoparticles

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