Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, 15:1904 | Cite as

Synthesis of mesoporous SiO2–ZnO nanocapsules: encapsulation of small biomolecules for drugs and “SiOZO-plex” for gene delivery

  • Vijay Bhooshan Kumar
  • Madhavi Annamanedi
  • Muvva Durga Prashad
  • Kalle M. Arunasree
  • Yitzhak Mastai
  • Aharon GedankenEmail author
  • Pradip PaikEmail author
Research Paper


This work presents a new synthesis of mesoporous SiO2–ZnO composite nanocapsules with sizes of 90–150 nm and represents their applications in encapsulation of small biomolecules (fluorescent molecules, drugs, and DNA) for uses in medical biotechnology (e.g., drug and gene delivery) for the first time. The nanocapsule size and morphology have been confirmed through the HRSEM and HRTEM. The mesoporous structure of the novel materials has been confirmed through both BET and HRTEM, and the pore diameter observed to be ca. 2–8 nm with an average diameter of 5.1 nm. The BET surface area of mesoporous SiO2–ZnO was found to be ~230 m2 g−1. Three different types of pores were detected through HRTEM: type-I, normal pores in silica matrix, pore with ZnO nanoparticles at the boundary (type-II) and type-III, the pores with tiny ZnO nanoparticles (~5–7 nm) inside them. To demonstrate the biocompatibility and cell viability of the nanocapsules, normal and cancerous lymphocyte cells have been chosen and investigated in a systematic way. Fluorescent dye (Rhodamine 6G), anticancer drug e.g., Doxorubicin (DOX) were loaded in all types of pores, and EtBr-labeled DNA molecules were loaded efficiently into the mesopores of second and third types of the composite nanocapsules to manifest the characteristic of mesoporous, and to find out its loading efficacy. The release kinetics of Rhodamine 6G and DOX were studied. The results highlight the potential of novel functional mesoporous SiO2–ZnO nanoparticles for using as the carrier of drugs and formation of “SiOZO-plex”, a complex of mesoporous SiO2–ZnO with DNA for gene delivery applications.

Graphical Abstract


ZnO–SiO2 SiOZO-plex Mesoporous nanocapsules DNA DOX 



Authors would like to acknowledge the financial support from the University of Hyderabad (UoH) “START of GRANT” (Ref:UH/F&A/2011-12/SG) and UPE-II GRANT (UPE-II/R-10). Dr. Mrinal Bhattachariya (UoH) for providing plasmid DNA, and School of Life Science, UoH for supporting with cell culture facilities and for biological studies.

Supplementary material

11051_2013_1904_MOESM1_ESM.doc (2.1 mb)
Supporting file: Explanation for XRD results, HRTEM images for the distribution of ZnO in SiO2 (Fig. S1A, B), measure the fringe distance from HRTEM (Fig. S1C), Diffraction pattern (Fig. S1D), EDS (Fig. S1E), HRTEM image for warm-hole like mesopores (Fig. S2); Wide and Small angle XRD (Fig. S3), TGA of SiO2, ZnO and mesoporous SiO2–ZnO (Fig. S4)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vijay Bhooshan Kumar
    • 1
  • Madhavi Annamanedi
    • 2
  • Muvva Durga Prashad
    • 3
  • Kalle M. Arunasree
    • 2
  • Yitzhak Mastai
    • 4
  • Aharon Gedanken
    • 4
    Email author
  • Pradip Paik
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Engineering Sciences and Technology, University of HyderabadHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Department of Animal SciencesSchool of Life Sciences, University of HyderabadHyderabadIndia
  3. 3.Centre for Nanoscience and NanotechnologyUniversity of HyderabadHyderabadIndia
  4. 4.Department of Chemistry, Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced MaterialsBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

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