Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 13, Issue 7, pp 2893–2908 | Cite as

Colloidal stability of silver nanoparticles in biologically relevant conditions

  • Robert I. MacCuspie
Research paper


Understanding the colloidal stability of nanoparticles (NPs) plays a key role in phenomenological interpretation of toxicological experiments, particularly if single NPs or their aggregates or agglomerates determine the dominant experimental result. This report examines a variety of instrumental techniques for surveying the colloidal stability of aqueous suspensions of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), including atomic force microscopy, dynamic light scattering, and colorimetry. It was found that colorimetry can adequately determine the concentration of single AgNPs that remained in solution if morphological information about agglomerates is not required. The colloidal stability of AgNPs with various surface capping agents and in various solvents ranging from cell culture media to different electrolytes of several concentrations, and in different pH conditions was determined. It was found that biocompatible bulky capping agents, such as bovine serum albumin or starch, that provided steric colloidal stabilization, as opposed to purely electrostatic stabilization such as with citrate AgNPs, provided better retention of single AgNPs in solution over a variety of conditions for up to 64 h of observation.


Silver nanoparticles BSA-coated nanoparticles Nanomaterial dispersion protocol Nanomaterial characterization 



The author thanks Drs. Vince Hackley, Tae Joon Cho, and Robert Cook for the inspiration for, insightful discussions about, and guidance editing this work.

Supplementary material

11051_2010_178_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1242 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (outside the USA)  2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Standards and Technology, Ceramics DivisionGaithersburgUSA

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