Fungal biosynthesis of gold nanoparticles: Mechanism and scale up

Michael Kitching, Meghana Ramani, Enrico Marsili

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

243 Citations (Scopus)


Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are a widespread research tool because of their oxidation resistance, biocompatibility and stability. Chemical methods for AuNP synthesis often produce toxic residues that raise environmental concern. On the other hand, the biological synthesis of AuNPs in viable microorganisms and their cell-free extracts is an environmentally friendly and low-cost process. In general, fungi tolerate higher metal concentrations than bacteria and secrete abundant extracellular redox proteins to reduce soluble metal ions to their insoluble form and eventually to nanocrystals. Fungi harbour untapped biological diversity and may provide novel metal reductases for metal detoxification and bioreduction. A thorough understanding of the biosynthetic mechanism of AuNPs in fungi is needed to reduce the time of biosynthesis and to scale up the AuNP production process. In this review, we describe the known mechanisms for AuNP biosynthesis in viable fungi and fungal protein extracts and discuss the most suitable bioreactors for industrial AuNP biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)904-917
Number of pages14
JournalMicrobial Biotechnology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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