Metal Nanoparticle–Microbe Interactions: Synthesis and Antimicrobial Effects

Mujeebur R. Khan, Katharina M. Fromm, Tanveer F. Rizvi, Bernd Giese, Faheem Ahamad, Raymond J. Turner, Michael Füeg, Enrico Marsili

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Metal nanoparticles (NPs), chalcogenides, and carbon quantum dots can be easily synthesized from whole microorganisms (fungi and bacteria) and cell-free sterile filtered spent medium. The particle size distribution and the biosynthesis time can be somewhat controlled through the biomass/metal solution ratio. The biosynthetic mechanism can be explained through the ion-reduction theory and UV photoconversion theory. Formation of biosynthetic NPs is part of the detoxification strategy employed by microorganisms, either in planktonic or biofilm form, to reduce the chemical toxicity of metal ions. In fact, most reports on NP biosynthesis show extracellular metal ion reduction. This is important for environmental and industrial applications, particularly in biofilms, as it allows in principle high biosynthetic rates. The antimicrobial and antifungal effect on biosynthetic NPs can be explained in terms of reactive oxygen species and can be enhanced by the capping agents attached to the NP during the biosynthesis process. Industrial applications of NP biosynthesis are still lagging, due to the difficulty of controlling NP size and low titer. Further, the environmental assessment of biosynthetic NPs has not yet been carried out. It is expected that further advancements in biosynthetic NP research will lead to applications, particularly in environmental biotechnology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900419
JournalParticle and Particle Systems Characterization
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • bacteria
  • biomineralization
  • biosynthesis
  • fungi
  • metal nanoparticles
  • molecular mechanisms
  • nanotechnology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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