A biomimetic approach towards synthesis of zinc oxide nanoparticles
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Using natural processes as inspiration, the present study demonstrates a positive correlation between zinc metal tolerance ability of a soil fungus and its potential for the synthesis of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles. A total of 19 fungal cultures were isolated from the rhizospheric soils of plants naturally growing at a zinc mine area in India and identified on the genus, respectively the species level. Aspergillus aeneus isolate NJP12 has been shown to have a high zinc metal tolerance ability and a potential for extracellular synthesis of ZnO nanoparticles under ambient conditions. UV–visible spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction analysis, transmission electron microscopy, and energy dispersive spectroscopy studies further confirmed the crystallinity, morphology, and composition of synthesized ZnO nanoparticles. The results revealed the synthesis of spherical nanoparticles coated with protein molecules which served as stabilizing agents. Investigations on the role of fungal extracellular proteins in the synthesis of nanoparticles indicated that the process is nonenzymatic but involves amino acids present in the protein chains.