Amino Acids

pp 1–11 | Cite as

Biotechnological applications of nanostructured hybrids of polyamine carbon quantum dots and iron oxide nanoparticles

  • A. Venerando
  • M. Magro
  • D. Baratella
  • J. Ugolotti
  • S. Zanin
  • O. Malina
  • R. Zboril
  • H. Lin
  • F. VianelloEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Polyamines: Biochemical and Pathophysiological Properties


The combination of different nanomaterials has been investigated during the past few decades and represents an exciting challenge for the unexpected emerging properties of the resulting nano-hybrids. Spermidine (Spd), a biogenic polyamine, has emerged as a useful functional monomer for the development of carbon quantum dots (CQDs). Herein, an electrostatically stabilized ternary hybrid, constituted of iron oxide-DNA (the core) and spermidine carbon quantum dots (CQDSpds, the shell), was self-assembled and fully characterized. The as-obtained nano-hybrid was tested on HeLa cells to evaluate its biocompatibility as well as cellular uptake. Most importantly, besides being endowed by the magnetic features of the core, it displayed drastically enhanced fluorescence properties in comparison with parent CQDSpds and it is efficiently internalized by HeLa cells. This novel ternary nano-hybrid with multifaceted properties, ranging from fluorescence to superparamagnetism, represents an interesting option for cell tracking.


Spermidine Carbon quantum dots Nano-hybrid Cell tracker Magnetic nanoparticle 



Carbon quantum dot


Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy


Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy


3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide


Phosphate-buffered saline


Surface active maghemite nanoparticles




Salmon sperm deoxyribonucleic acid


Transmission electron microscopy


Tetramethylammonium hydroxide


Wheat-germ agglutinin



The present experimental work was partially funded by Italian Institutional Ministry Grants Cod. DOR1872491. The team members from the Czech Republic were supported by Grant No. LO1204 from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. The authors thank Dr. Jana Stráská for TEM measurements. The authors also thank ‘La Sapienza’ University of Rome and Italian MIUR (Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca). Our gratitude is also due to the “International Polyamine Foundation–ONLUS” for the availability to look up in the Polyamines documentation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

726_2019_2721_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 2490 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food ScienceAgripolis Campus, University of PaduaLegnaroItaly
  2. 2.Department of Physical Chemistry, Regional Centre of Advanced Technologies and MaterialsPalacky UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of MedicineUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Bioscience and BiotechnologyNational Taiwan Ocean UniversityKeelungTaiwan
  5. 5.International Polyamines Foundation – ONLUSRomeItaly

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