Nanotechnology is a rapidly growing field of science, which is particularly interesting for researchers since the early 90s of the last century. This area has become an integral part of modern technology . Nanotechnology is said to be a “key technology of the 21st century”, which is the result of its interdisciplinary nature . Because nanotechnology is still evolving, there doesn’t seem to be any one definition that everybody agrees on. We know that nano deals with matter on a very small scale - larger than atoms and molecules, but smaller than a breadcrumb. We know that matter at the nano scale can behave differently than bulk matter. Beyond that, different individuals and groups focus on different aspects of nanotechnology as a discipline. Here are a few definitions of what nanotechnology is for your consideration.
- Nanotechnology is the study and use of structures between 1 nanometer (nm) and 100 nanometers in size.
- This is probably the most barebones and generally agreed upon definition of nanotechnology. To put these measurements in perspective, compare your one meter (about three feet three inches) high hall table to a nanometer. You would have to stack one billion nanometer-sized particles on top of each other to reach the height of your hall table. Another popular comparison is that you can fit about 80,000 nanometers in the width of a single human hair.
- The word nano is a scientific prefix that stands for 10-9 or one-billionth; the word itself comes from the Greek word nanos, meaning dwarf.
- “Structures, devices, and systems having novel properties and functions due to the arrangement of their atoms on the 1 to 100 nanometer scale. Many fields of endeavor contribute to nanotechnology, including molecular physics, materials science, chemistry, biology, computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.”
- This definition from The Foresight Institute adds a mention of the various fields of science that come into play with nanotechnology.
- “Nanotechnology is the study of phenomena and fine-tuning of materials at atomic, molecular and macromolecular scales, where properties differ significantly from those at a larger scale. Products based on nanotechnology are already in use and analysts expect markets to grow by hundreds of billions of euros during this decade.” The European Commission offers this definition of what nanotechnology is, which both repeats the fact mentioned in the previous definition that materials at the nanoscale have novel properties, and positions nano vis-a-vis its potential in the economic marketplace.
- “Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at this length scale.”
- This definition from the National Nanotechnology Initiative adds the fact that nanotechnology involves certain activities, such as measuring and manipulating nanoscale matter.
- “[Nanotechnology is] an upcoming economic, business, and social phenomenon. Nano-advocates argue it will revolutionize the way we live, work and communicate.” This last is taken from a definition of nanotechnology by Thomas Thesis, director of physical sciences at the IBM Watson Research Center. It offers a broader and interesting perspective of the role and value of nanotechnology in our world.(Excerpted from Nanotechnology for Dummies (2nd edition), from Wiley Publishing).
Nanotechnology deals with the production and usage of material with nanoscale dimension. There are many different points of view about the nanotechnology. These differences start with the definition of nanotechnology. Some define it as any activity that involves manipulating materials between one nanometer and 100 nanometers. However the original definition of nanotechnology involved building machines at the molecular scale and involves the manipulation of materials on an atomic (about two-tenths of a nanometer) scale.
The ability to see nano-sized materials has opened up a world of possibilities in a variety of industries and scientific endeavors. Because nanotechnology is essentially a set of techniques that allow manipulation of properties at a very small scale, it can have many applications, such as the ones listed below.
In the past decade there has been a marked increase in the field of fabrication of nanoparticles with controlled morphologies and remarkable features making it an extensive area of research. The synthesis of nanoparticles (NPs) with control over particle size, shape and crystalline nature has been one of the main objectives in chemistry that could be used for potential applications, such as bio-medical, biosensor, catalyst for bacterial biotoxin elimination and lower cost electrode [43-45].
|Production||Nanoparticles||Minimum global production volume [tons]||Maximum global production volume [tons]|
|High volume production||Titanium dioxide||60,000||150,00|
|Low volume production||Quantum dots||4.5||9|
|Antimony tin oxide||120||225|
|Fullerenes & POSS||40||100|
- Non-metallic inorganic nanoparticles (TiO2, SiO2, ZnO, Al (OH)3, Fe2O3, Fe3O4, CeO2, ZrO2, CaO, ITO, ATO)
- Metals and metal alloys (Au, Ag, Pt, Pd, Cu, Fe, Ni, Co, Al, Mn, Mo)
- Nanomaterials based on carbon (fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, carbon nanofibers, graphene)
- Nanopolymers and dendrimers (polymeric nanoparticles, polymer nanotubes, nanowires and nanorods, nanocellulose, nanostructured polymer films)
- Quantum dots (cadmium telluride, cadmium selenide, quantum dots free of cadmium).
- Biological (production of nanoparticles by microorganisms),
- Chemical (e.g. chemical vapour deposition CVD, chemical reduction),
- Physical (e.g. physical vapour deposition, PVD, production of thin films).
Elements: You will find an extensive range of element nanopowders under one roof that is Mk nano. We have aluminum, boron, carbon, cobalt, iron, gold, tin, titanium, etc.you name it, and we have it.
Ferrite nanoparticles are the iron oxides in the crystal structure of maghemite or magnetite. They are the most explored magnetic nanoparticles till date. They become super magnetic when the ferrite particles become lesser than 128 nm which prevent self-agglomeration, because they display their magnetic behaviours only when an external magnetic field is applied.
The surface of a magnetite magnetic nanoparticle is inert and usually resists covalent bonds with functionalization molecules. Though, the reactivity can be enhanced by coating a layer of silica on the surface. The silica shell can be easily altered with numerous surface functional groups. Apart from this, some fluorescent dye molecules can also be covalently bonded to the functionalized silica shell. Some advantage of Ferrite nanoparticle clusters coated with a silica shell over metallic nanoparticles are:
- Advanced chemical stability
- Narrow size distribution
- Developed colloidal constancy
- Magnetic moment are tuned with the nanoparticle cluster size
- Retained super paramagnetic properties
- Silica surface allows direct covalent functionalization
The metallic core of a magnetic nanoparticle can be passivated by oxidation, surfactants, polymers and precious metals. Nanoparticles with a magnetic core consisting either of elementary iron or cobalt with a nonreactive shell made of graphene have been produced. Its advantages compared to ferrite nanoparticles are listed below:
- Developed magnetization
- Greater stability in acidic, basic solution as well as in organic solvents
Magnetic effects are produced by activities of particles that have both mass and electric charges. A rotating, electric-charged particle generates a magnetic dipole termed as magneton. In ferromagnetic materials, magnetons are connected in groups. A magnetic domain refers to a volume of ferromagnetic material in which all magnetons are aligned in the same direction by the exchange forces.
Materials are classified by their reaction to an externally applied magnetic field. Descriptions of orientations of the magnetic moments in a material aid in finding diverse forms of magnetism. The basic types if magnetism can be classified into diamagnetism, paramagnetism, ferromagnetism, antiferromagnetism, and ferrimagnetism. When there is an external applied magnetic field, the atomic current loops formed by the orbital motion of electrons respond to oppose the applied field.
Some of the most established methods of synthesis of magnetic nanoparticle are:
- Co-precipitation - It is a convenient way to synthesize iron oxides from aqueous Fe2+/Fe3+ salt solutions. It is done by adding a base under inert atmosphere at room temperature or at raised temperatures. The size, shape, and composition of the magnetic nanoparticles depends on the type of salts used. This method is widely used to produce ferrite nanoparticles of controlled sizes and magnetic properties.
- Thermal Decomposition - The smaller sized magnetic nanocrystals can be synthesized by thermal decomposition of organometallic compounds in high-boiling organic solvents containing stabilizing surfactants.
- Microemulsion - With this method, platinum alloys, and gold-coated platinum nanoparticles have been manufactured in reverse micelles of cetyltrimethlyammonium bromide.
- Flame spray synthesis - With the use of flame spray pyrolysis and changing the reaction conditions, oxides, metal or carbon coated nanoparticles are produced at a rate of > 30 g/h.
They have usage in many different fields, few of them are listed below
Magnetic nanoparticles are used in an experimental cancer treatment called magnetic hyperthermia. Magnetic nanoparticles are used for the detection of cancer. They are conjugated with carbohydrates and used for detection of bacteria.
They have a good potential for treatments of contaminated water. The amazing property of easy separation by applying a magnetic field and the large surface area makes this possible.
They can be used as a catalyst or catalyst supports in chemical reactions. The support may be inert or they may participate in the catalytic reactions. Magnetic iron oxide nanocrystals, monodisperse magnetic cobalt nanoparticles and ferrite magnetic nanopowders have many industrial applications.
They can be used for a whole lot of genetics applications. One such application is the isolation of mRNA.
After green synthesis of NP, characterization is an important step to identify NP by their shape, size, surface area and dispersity . A homogeneity of these properties is important in many applications. For this purpose, various characterization techniques have been developed as analytical tools (Figure 3).The common techniques of characterizing nanoparticles are as follows: UV–visible spectrophotometry, dynamic light scattering (DLS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) [63-65].
Their properties can be majorly divided into physical and optical properties:
- They have a large surface area
- Nanoparticles of yellow gold and gray silicon are red in colour
- Zinc oxide particles have been found to have superior UV blocking properties compared to its bulk substitute
- Gold nanoparticles melt at much lower temperatures (~300 Â°C for 2.5 nm size) than the gold slabs (1064 Â°C)
- Absorption of solar radiation in photovoltaic cells is much higher in nanoparticles than it is in thin films of continuous sheets of bulk material - since the particles are smaller, they absorb greater amount of solar radiation.
Nano particles also often possess unexpected optical properties, as they are small enough to confine their electrons and produce quantum effects. One example of this is that gold nanoparticles appear deep red to black in solution.
Other properties unique among nanoparticles are quantum confinement in semiconductor particles, surface Plasmon resonance in some metal particles and superparamagnetism in magnetic materials.
At elevated temperatures especially, nanoparticles possess the property of diffusion.
Biosynthesis of metal nanoparticles using plant derivatives is extremely studied in the last two decades. Different synthetic methods have been employed for the preparation of MNPs with diverse morphology and size. Although these methods have resulted in superior MNPs but still a key understanding of improved manufacturing process is required which could be exploited at the industrial and commercial level to have better built, long lasting, cleaner, safer and smarter products such as home appliances, communication technology, medicines, transportation, agriculture and industries.
They are generally classified based on their dimensionality, morphology, composition, uniformity, and agglomeration.
Reducing the dimensions of materials to atomic scales results in a large portion of atoms being at or near the surface, with lower bond order and thus higher energy. At such scales, reduction of the surface energy and surface stresses can be the driving force for the formation of new low-dimensional nanostructures, and may be exhibited through surface relaxation and/or surface reconstruction, which can be utilized for tailoring the properties and phase transformation of nanomaterials without applying any external load. Kasra et al.,  used atomistic simulations and revealed an intrinsic structural transformation in monolayer materials that lowers their dimension from 2D nanosheets to 1D nanostructures to reduce their surface and elastic energies (Figure 4).
The methods for making nanoparticles can generally involve either a “top down” approach or a“bottom up” approach . In top-down synthesis (Figure 7), nanoparticles are produced by size reduction from a suitable starting material . Size reduction is achieved by various physical and chemical treatments (Figure 7). Top down production methods introduce imperfections in the surface structure of the product and this is a major limitation because the surface chemistry and the other physical properties of nanoparticles are highly dependent on the surface structure . In bottom up synthesis, the nanoparticles are built from smaller entities, for example by joining atoms, molecules and smaller particles . In bottom up synthesis, the nanostructured building blocks of the nanoparticles are formed first and then assembled to produce the final particle . The bottom up synthesis mostly relies on chemical and biological methods of production.
Nano-sized TiO2 has been successfully produced by adding TiO (OH)2 solution to the suspension of Lactobacillus sp. . The equation can be described as following: Ti. (OH)2 → TiO2 + H2O
In producing nanoparticles using plant extracts, the extract is simply mixed with a solution of the metal salt at room temperature. The reaction is complete within minutes. Nanoparticles of silver, gold and many other metals have been produced this way . Figure 11 shows picture of various plants used for the biosynthesis of nanoparticles. The nature of the plant extract, its concentration, the concentration of
The stem part of plant extract shows the different functional groups, particularly the carboxyl, amine, and phenolic compounds that are involved in the reduction of metal ions. Some previous studies  are proposed model mechanisms of nanoparticles interaction with pathogenic organisms. Therefore, the biosynthesized metal nanoparticles acted as good antibacterial agents.
The extract contains active phytochemical compounds that are liable for the single step reduction reaction. The use of optimum physic chemical parameters to synthesize nanomaterial is very effective in pharmacological solicitation to treat various endemic diseases.
The fenugreek seed extract contains high flavonoids and other natural bioactive products such as lignin, saponin and vitamins. The reduction of chloroauric acid by using the powerful reducing agents fenugreek seed extract acts as a better surfactant. The COO- group (carboxylic), C = N and C = C functional groups are present in the seed extract. The functional group of metabolites acts as a surfactant of gold nanoparticles and the flavonoids can stabilize the electrostatic stabilization of gold NPs . The aqueous extract of Macrotyloma uniflorum enhanced the reduction rate of some metal ions. This may be owing to the presence of caffeic acid in the extract. Therefore, the presence of caffeic acid reduction reaction was occurred within a minute.
Plant leaves extract used as a mediator to synthesis of nanoparticles was reported. Leaves of Centella asiatica, Murraya koenigii, Alternanthera sessilis and many plants leaves extract have been studied . Recently, P. nigrum leaves were stated to contain an important bioactive compound, which is involved in the nanoparticle synthesis by eco-friendly method. It shows a significant tool for antimicrobial agents in present and in a near future.
 studied an eco-friendly method synthesis of gold nanoparticles by using rose petals. The extract medium contains abundant sugars and proteins. These functional compounds are the main sources for reduction of tetrachloroaurate salt into bulk GNPs. Likewise, Catharanthus roseus and Clitoria ternatea diverse groups of flowers are used for the metallic nanoparticle synthesis with desired sizes and shapes. The plant-synthesized nanoparticles have been effectively controlling harmful pathogenic bacteria and similarly the medicinal usable Nyctanthes arbortristis flowers of gold nanoparticles extract are synthesized via green chemistry method . The aqueous extract of Mirabilis Jalapa flowers acts as a reducing agent and produced gold nanoparticles with ecofriendly method 
During the course of biological synthesis of MNPs a number of controlling factors are involved in the nucleation and subsequent formation of stabilized NP. These factors include pH, reactants concentration, reaction time and temperature and details were given in Table 2 [156-160].
|Controlling factors||Influence on biological synthesis of MNPs||References|
|pH||Variability in size and shape|||
|Reactants concentration||Variability in shape|||
|Reaction time||Increase in reaction time increases the size of MNPs|||
|Reaction temperature||Size, shape, yield and stability||[159-160]|
Capping agents play a very pivotal and versatile role in the NP synthesis. NPs can be functionalized and stabilized using capping agents to impart useful properties by controlling morphology, size and protecting the surface thereby preventing aggregation. Many surfactants have been reported to be used as capping agents for altering the desired shape and size of the MNPs but these are difficult to remove and do not easily degrade. Thus, the commercial surfactants are hazardous to the environment [166,167]. In the view of the limitation possessed by these chemicals, there is an urgent need to use environment-friendly capping agents and design green biochemical routes at laboratory and industrial level for the NP synthesis. There are different types of molecules that could act or be used as capping agents but some of the broadly classified green capping agents have been discussed below with their potential role.
The preparation of homogenous MNPs using biomolecules has recently gained interest due to their non-toxic nature and not involving harsh synthetic procedures. Amino acids act as an efficient reducing as well as capping agents to synthesize MNPs with unique structure. Maruyama and coworkers synthesized Au NPs with the size range of 4–7 nm using amino acids as capping agents. Among 20 different amino acids, they adopted L-histidine which was found to reduce tetraauric acid (AuCl4–) to Au NPs. The concentration of L-histidine was found to affect the size of MNPs; higher the concentration smaller the size of MNP. Moreover, the amino and carboxy groups present in the amino acids caused the reduction of AuCl4– and coating of MNP surface .
Polysaccharides are a class of polymeric carbohydrate molecules with repeating units of mono or disaccharides linked together by glycosidic linkages. They act as capping agents in the MNP synthesis as they are low cost, hydrophilic, stable, safe, biodegradable and non-toxic. The synthesis is carried out in the presence of water as a solvent thus, eliminating the use of toxic solvents [171,172]. One of the distinguishing features of polysaccharides is that they sharply accelerate the kinetics of sol–gel processes due to their catalytic effect . They not only have been found to modify the structure and morphology of TiO2 but have induced a different phase where rutile phase has been obtained in the presence of chitosan whereas anatase in the presence of starch .
Microorganisms have been shown to be important nanofactories that hold immense potential as ecofriendly and cost-effective tools, avoiding toxic, harsh chemicals and the high-energy demand required for physiochemical synthesis. Microorganisms have the ability to accumulate and detoxify heavy metals due to various reductase enzymes, which are able to reduce metal salts to metal nanoparticles with a narrow size distribution and, therefore, less polydispersity. Over the past few years, microorganisms, including bacteria (such as actinomycetes), fungi, algae and yeasts, have been studied extra- and intracellularly for the synthesis of metal nanoparticles. An array of biological protocols for nanoparticle synthesis has been reported using bacterial biomass, supernatant, and derived components.
The controlled growth of NPs in solution is believed to be kinetically controlled process where low energy faces of any crystal results into a particular shape. The energy and growth rate of a crystal can be controlled by the introduction of a suitable templating agent or a surfactant, which lowers the interfacialenergy [201,202]. Till now, different commercial surfactants have been used as templates and capping agents for the synthesis of MNPs with varied morphologies. However, the problem is the removal and complete biodegradation of these chemicals. Nowadays, more and more research is converged on to the green synthesis employing environment-friendly and bioinspired approaches. By knowing the capability of naturally occurring biomolecules to modify the shape or size of a crystal, MNPs of superior quality can be manufactured. The use of different species of algae in the synthesis of metallic MNPs has stimulated the researchers to come up with ‘nature-friendly’ methodologies.
|Sources||Type of nanoparticles||Location||Size (nm)|
|Bacillus subtilis||Ag &Au||Intra & Extracellular||5~10|
|Lactobacillus sp.||Ag & Au||Intracellular||60|
|Clostridium thermoaceticum||CdS||Intra & Extracellular||2~5|
|Escherichia coli DH5α||Au||Intracellular||25~33|
|Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV)||SiO2, CdS, PbS, Fe2O3||Intra & Extracellular||45~80|
|M13 bacteriophage||ZnS and CdS||Intra & Extracellular||50~100|
|Phoma sp. 3.2883||Ag||Extracellular||71~74|
|Cinnamomum camphora||Ag and Au||Extracellular||55~80|
|Azadirachta indica (Neem)||Ag/Au||Extracellular||50~100|
|Geranium leaves plant extract||Ag||Extracellular||16~40|
|Avena sativa (Oat)||Au||Extracellular||5~85|
|G. Human cell lines|
Metal oxides are widely explored and studied class of inorganic solids due to a wide variety of structures, properties and exceptional phenomenon exhibited by their NPs. Transition metal oxides have been used in numerous industrial applications. NPs, nano-powders and nanotubes play a significant role in industry, environmental remediation, and medicine and even in household applications. One dimensional (1D) metal oxide nanostructures are ideal systems for exploring size and morphology dependent applications and have become the focus of current research efforts in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology. Metal oxides are commonly available and present in different forms possessing special shapes, composition, structures, chemical and physical properties .
Nanoparticles (NPs) are particles that range in size between 1 and 100 nanometres in diameter. This dimensional feature gives specific properties or behaviours to these materials. Because of the many innovative applications suggested by these physical, chemical or biological properties, nanomaterials represent a field of scientific and technical research in full expansion. Indeed, the functional properties of the MNPs mainly depend on their physicochemical characteristics: these particles may exist in aggregated or discrete form and can be hexagonal, spherical, tubelike, or irregularly shaped. Thus, their potential toxicity in the human body will particularly depend on their physicochemical properties (size, shape, crystal structure or not, surface charge, solubility, etc.) .
Anciently, the gold metal is known as a symbol of power and wealth. The gold metal is used in different forms to improve the human health ever since. Even today, the biological aspects of metallic gold nanoparticles (GNPs) are very useful to human health and cosmetics applications . In the 18th century, Egyptians used gold metal solubilized water for mental and spiritual purification. The restorative property of gold is still honoured in rural villages, where peasants cook their rice with a gold pellet to replace the minerals in the body via food intake. Traditionally, silver metal is used to control bodily infection and prevent food spoilage. Silver is used as wound healer agents and ulcer treatment . In fact, nowadays the colloidal silver nanoparticles have been used as antimicrobial agent, wound dressing material, bone and tooth cement and water purifier as well .
Recently, nanoproducts have immense applications in day to day life. There are also various eco-friendly nanoproducts available in commercial market with high efficiency such as water purifier, bone and teeth cement, facial cream and homemade products . For instance, silver, silica and platinum nanoparticles have various applications in personal care and cosmetics and they are used as ingredients in various products such as sunscreens, anti-ageing creams, toothpastes, mouthwash, hair care products and perfumes . The silica nanomaterials are used as ingredients in various commercial products. Also, the modified silica nanomaterials are used as excellent pesticide control and it is used in a variety of non-agricultural applications.
The biosensing applications of algae and waste mediated synthesized MNPs are under study and would be preferred over commercially synthesized MNPs. Here, in brief, biosensing ability of MNPs synthesized from other sources has been discussed which would make MNPs derived from algae and waste materials a better choice. Biosynthesized Au NPs have proved to be very important tool for hormone (HCG) detection in pregnant women urine sample . Adrenaline acts as a drug which is widely used in the treatment of allergies, heart attack, asthma and cardiac surgery. Therefore, detection of adrenalin is becoming an active area of research from medical point of view. Gold nanoplasmonic  substrates with high sensitivity and spectral reproducibility are key components of molecular sensors based on surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS).
The metal nanoparticles are used as a preservative agent in food and cosmetic industries. New dimension of metallic nanoparticles is used for different commercial applications mainly cosmetics, pharma coating materials and food preservatives [251,266]. The nanosized metal nanoparticles such as gold, silver and platinum are broadly being applied for various commercial products such as shampoo, soap, detergent, and shoes. The chemical ingredients are mostly synthetic, and it causes side effects to human being. As a result, the green metallic nanoparticles are alternative for preservative agents in healthcare and food industries.
Silver metal is a highly heat conducting material because of that, nano-Ag is used in various mechanical devices. It is mainly used in heat liable instrumentation such as PCR lid and UV-spectrophotometer. The parts of instrumentation are made by nanosilver which is used as coated materials. It is highly stable in high temperature and without interference to the samples . In food industries, the food products gets high microbial contamination due to their various open scale processes such as in manufacturing, processing and shipping of raw materials. Therefore, there is a need to develop a cost effective biosensor to evaluate the quality of the products. The metallic nanoparticles have been developed as biosensors and it effectively detects pathogen and monitors the different stages of contaminant with low cost.
The use of nanotechnology in medicine offers some exciting possibilities. Some techniques are only imagined, while others are at various stages of testing, or actually being used today. Nanotechnology in medicine involves applications of nanoparticles currently under development, as well as longer range research that involves the use of manufactured nano-robots to make repairs at the cellular level (sometimes referred to as nanomedicine). Whatever you call it, the use of nanotechnology in the field of medicine could revolutionize the way we detect and treat damage to the human body and disease in the future, and many techniques only imagined a few years ago are making remarkable progress towards becoming realities. Being super paramagnetic in nature, iron and iron oxide NPs find extensive usage in biomedical applications such as cell labeling, tissue repair, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and drug delivery [268,269]. Au NPs have proved to be important tool in many potential biomedical applications including an emerging alternative for life-threatening diseases and also have been used in DNA modeling [270,271]. Au NPs with different sizes display optical properties necessary for biosensor applications, especially in cancer nanotechnology. PEG coated Au NPs maximize the tumor damage as compared to Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), a cytokine which has anticancer efficacy, but limited therapeutic applications [272-274].
In recent years, interest has been generated in the capability of MNPs to bind a wide range of organic molecules, their low toxicity and their strong and tunable absorption. Unique chemical, physical and photo-physical properties of MNPs paved innovative ways in drug delivery systems to achieve controlled transport, controlled release and specific targeting of drugs [301-304]. It has been shown that conjugates of MNPs with antibiotics provide promising results in antimicrobial therapy . Combination of antibiotic with MNPs would be helpful to improve antibiotic efficacy. This conjugation can be via covalent, ionic or physical absorption [305,306].
Researchers have developed "nanosponges" that absorb toxins and remove them from the bloodstream. The nanosponges (nanosponges-toxins.html) are polymer nanoparticles coated with a red blood cell membrane. The red blood cell membrane allows the nanosponges to travel freely in the bloodstream and attract the toxins. Researchers have demonstrated a method to generate sound waves that are powerful, but also tightly focused, that may eventually be used for noninvasive surgery. They use a lens coated with carbon nanotubes (nanotube-lens noninvasive- surgery.html) to convert light from a laser to focused sound waves. The intent is to develop a method that could blast tumors or other diseased areas without damaging healthy tissue.
Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute are using antibodies attached to carbon nanotubes (nanotube-cancersensor.html) in chips to detect cancer cells in the blood stream. The researchers believe this method could be used in simple lab tests that could provide early detection of cancer cells in the bloodstream. Researchers at MIT have developed a sensor using carbon nanotubes embedded in a gel; that can be injected under the skin to monitor the level of nitric oxide (carbon-nanotubes-implant-sensor.html) in the bloodstream. The level of nitric oxide is important because it indicates inflammation, allowing easy monitoring of inflammatory diseases. In tests with laboratory mice the sensor remained functional for over a year.
In recent years, increasing antibiotic resistance by microbes is imposing serious threat to the health sector. Nanoparticles have proved to be a likely candidate for antimicrobial agent since their large surface to volume ratio ensures a broad range of attack on bacterial surface. Researchers at the University of Houston are developing a technique to kill bacteria using gold nanoparticles and infrared light (gold-nanoparticles-bacteria.html). This method may lead to improved cleaning of instruments in hospital settings.
The reciprocal action of nanoparticles subsequently breaks the cell membrane and disturbs the protein synthesis mechanism in the bacterial system . The interactions of bacteria and the metallic silver and gold nanoparticles have been binding with active site of cell membrane to inhibit the cell cycle functions .
The fungicidal mechanism of biosynthesized metallic nanoparticles has more potential than commercial antibiotics such as fluconazole and amphotericin. Most of the commercial antifungal agents have limited applications clinically and in addition, there are more adverse effect and less recovery from the microbial disease. Subsequently, the commercial drugs induce side effect such as renal failure, increased body temperature, nausea, liver damage, and diarrhoea after using the drugs. Nanoparticles were developed for novel and effective drug against microbes. The fungal cell wall is made up of high polymer of fatty acid and protein. The fungal cell membrane structure significant changes were observed by treating it with metallic nanoparticles .
Currently, the most common diseases are spreading everywhere by vectors. Vector control is a serious requirement in epidemic disease situation. The advanced antiplasmodial species specific control method is less effective. This method has been more economical but less effective to control the target organisms in the health care sector . Hence, effective and affordable antimalarial drugs are urgently required to control the plasmoidal activity. In last few decades, plants have been used as traditional sources of natural products and having enough sources for drug development for antimalarial disease.
Anti-inflammatory is an important wound healing mechanism. Anti-inflammation is a cascade process that produces immune responsive compound such as interleukins and cytokinins which can be produced by keratinocytes including T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes and macrophages . Various inflammatory mediators such as enzymes, antibodies are secreted from the endocrine system. Other potential anti-inflammatory agents such as cytokines, IL-1, IL-2 are secreted from the primary immune organs. These anti-inflammatory mediators induce the healing process . Also, the inflammatory mediators are involved in biochemical pathways and control the expansion of diseases. Biosynthesized gold nanoparticles achieved positive wound repair mechanisms and tissue regeneration in inflammatory function . The studies proved that biosynthesized gold and platinum nanoparticles are alternative sources for treating inflammation in a natural way.
Cancer is an uncontrolled cell proliferation with hysterical changes of biochemical and enzymatic parameters, which is universal property of tumour cells. The overexpression of cellular growth will be arrested and regulated with systematic cell cycle mechanisms in cancerous cell by using bio-based nanoparticles as novel controlling agents . Also the plant mediated nanoparticles have great effect against various cancer cell lines such as Hep 2, HCT 116 and Hela cell lines. Recently, many studies reported that plant derived nanoparticles have potential to control tumour cell growth. The improved cytotoxic effect is due to the secondary metabolites and other non-metal composition in the synthesizing medium [326,327]. The plant derived silver nanoparticles regulate the cell cycle and enzymes in bloodstream . Moreover, the plant synthesized nanoparticles relatively control the free radicals formation from the cell. Free radicals commonly induce cell proliferation and damage the normal cell function.
Plants mediated nanoparticles are the alternative drugs for treating and controlling the growth of viral pathogens. The entry of viruses into a host is very reckless and it involved in faster translational process to multiply their colony numbers. The metallic MNPs are strong antiviral agents and inhibit the viral entry into the host system. The biosynthesized metallic nanoparticles have multiple binding sites to bind with gp120 of viral membrane to control the function of virus. The bio-based nanoparticles are acting as effective virucidal agent against cell-free virus and cell-associated virus . In addition, the silver and gold nanoparticles are constantly inhibiting post-entry stages of the HIV-1 life cycle. Therefore, the metallic nanoparticles will act as promising antiviral drug against retro viruses.
Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a group of metabolic dysfunction in which person has uncontrolled sugar level in blood. Certain foods and balance diet or synthetic insulin drugs can be prevent the diabetes at certain levels, but the complete treatment of DM is a big challenge. However, the biosynthesized nanomaterials could be alternative drug to cure the diabetes mellitus. Daisy and Saipriya’s (2012)  results showed that gold nanoparticles have good therapeutic effects against diabetic models. Gold nanoparticles significantly reduce the level of liver enzymes such as alanine transaminase, alkaline phosphatase, serum creatinine, and uric acid in treated diabetes mice.
Antioxidant agents including enzymatic and non-enzymatic substances regulate the free radical formation. Free radicals are causing cellular damage including brain damage, atherosclerosis and cancer. The free radicals are generated by reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as superoxide dismutase, hydrogen peroxides and hydrogen radicals. Biomolecules such as proteins, glycoprotein, lipids, fatty acids, phenolics, flavonoids and sugars strongly controlled the free radical formation . The scavenging power of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants is useful for the management of various chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, AIDS, nephritis, metabolic disorders and neurodegenerative. The antioxidant effect of silver nanoparticles was stronger than other synthetic commercial standards e.g. ascorbic acid and so on. The nanoparticles showed higher antioxidant activity whereas the tea leaf extract possesses higher phenolic and flavonoids content in the extract .
Nanorobots could actually be programmed to repair specific diseased cells, functioning in a similar way to antibodies in our natural healing processes. Read about design analysis for one such cell repair nanorobot in this article: The Ideal Gene Delivery Vector: Chromallocytes, Cell Repair Nanorobots for Chromosome Repair Therapy (http://jetpress.org/v16/freitas.pdf).
National Cancer Institute Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer; this alliance includes a Nanotechnology Characterization Lab (http://ncl.cancer.gov/) as well as eight Centers of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (http://nano.cancer.gov/action/programs/ccne.asp). Alliance for NanoHealth (http://www.nanohealthalliance.org/); this alliance includes eight research institutions performing collaborative research. European Nanomedicine platform (http://www.etp-nanomedicine.eu/public).The National Institute of Health (NIH) is funding research at eight Nanomedicine Development Centers (http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/nanomedicine/fundedresearch.asp). Nanomedicine based upon nano-robots (nanomedicine.html).
The growth of population and urbanization along with poor water supply and environmental hygiene are the main reasons for the increase in outbreak of infectious pathogens. Transmission of infectious pathogens to the community has caused outbreaks of diseases such as influenza (A/H5N1), diarrhea (Escherichia coli), cholera (Vibrio cholera), etc. throughout the world. The comprehensive treatments of environments containing infectious pathogens using advanced disinfectant nanomaterials and nanoparticles have been proposed for prevention of the outbreaks. In recent years, the outbreak of re-emerging and emerging infectious diseases has been a significant burden on global economies and public health.
Mostly, the toxicity of the product is determined as a function of its mass. In the case of nanomaterials this assumption is incorrect and one must use a different technique for risk assessment. Nanoparticles can penetrate into living organisms by means of swallowing, inhalation, absorption and penetration through the skin. Understanding the life cycle of nanoparticles in the environment and their chemical stability is an important step in the process of determining their influence on living organisms. Despite the lack of thorough research, a framework to conduct analysis has been developed. It involves:
- Physicochemical characteristics of particles which may have a negative effect on living matter,
- Familiarity with the life cycle of nanomaterials and the mode of their penetration into living organisms,
- Selection of appropriate techniques to measure the degree of an organism’s exposure to the nanomaterials,
- defining the rules governing deployment of nanoparticles in different parts of living organisms,
- developing mechanisms for inducing conditions .
Few of the disadvantages of MNPs are the exact mechanism for synthesis of NPs needs to be elucidated, limitations to scale up production processes and reproducibility of the processes . Chronic exposure to silver NPs causes adverse effects like argyria and argyrosis, soluble silver may cause organ damage . Microbes are regarded as potential biofactories for MNPs synthesis and serve a new generation antimicrobial agents with their unique physicochemical properties. The MNPs have found diverse applications in the field of pharmacy as direct therapeutic agents to treat ailments and also as carriers for drug delivery systems. In both the cases, stability and surface activity of MNPs are the vital areas where researchers have to concentrate. In particular, the development of rational protocol for green synthesis of MNPs in keeping view of the advantages of this approach; application of these particles to resolve problem of antibiotic resistance and in the target specific drug delivery systems to treat microbial infections including HIV and cancer should be highly focused in the future.
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