, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 237-246
Date: 20 Feb 2009

Process variables in biomimetic synthesis of silver nanoparticles by aqueous extract of Azadirachta indica (Neem) leaves

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Owing to widespread applications, synthesis and characterization of silver nanoparticles is recently attracting considerable attention. Increasing environmental concerns over chemical synthesis routes have resulted in attempts to develop biomimetic approaches. One of them is synthesis using plant parts, which eliminates the elaborate process of maintaining the microbial culture and often found to be kinetically favourable than other bioprocesses. The present study deals with investigating the effect of process variables like reductant concentrations, reaction pH, mixing ratio of the reactants and interaction time on the morphology and size of silver nanoparticles synthesized using aqueous extract of Azadirachta indica (Neem) leaves. The formation of crystalline silver nanoparticles was confirmed using X-ray diffraction analysis. By means of UV spectroscopy, Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy techniques, it was observed that the morphology and size of the nanoparticles were strongly dependent on the process parameters. Within 4 h interaction period, nanoparticles below 20-nm-size with nearly spherical shape were produced. On increasing interaction time (ageing) to 66 days, both aggregation and shape anisotropy (ellipsoidal, polyhedral and capsular) of the particles increased. In alkaline pH range, the stability of cluster distribution increased with a declined tendency for aggregation of the particles. It can be inferred from the study that fine tuning the bioprocess parameters will enhance possibilities of desired nano-product tailor made for particular applications.