Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 10, pp 4393–4408 | Cite as

Multifunctional theranostic applications of biocompatible green-synthesized colloidal nanoparticles

  • Muhammad Ovais
  • Ali Talha Khalil
  • Abida Raza
  • Nazar Ul IslamEmail author
  • Muhammad Ayaz
  • Muthupandian Saravanan
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Irshad Ahmad
  • Muhammad Shahid
  • Zabta Khan Shinwari
Environmental biotechnology


Phytochemicals offer immense promise for sustainable development and production of nanotechnology-enabled products. In the present study, Olax nana Wall. ex Benth. (family: Olacaceae) aqueous extract was used as an effective stabilizing agent to produce biogenic silver (ON-AgNPs) and gold nanoparticles (ON-AuNPs), which were investigated for biocompatibility and prospective biomedical applications (antibacterial, anticancer, antileishmanial, enzyme inhibition, antinociceptive, and anti-inflammatory activities). Various characterization techniques (XRD, FTIR, SEM, TEM, DLS, EDX, and SAED) revealed efficient biosynthesis of ON-AgNPs (26 nm) and ON-AuNPs (47 nm). In the toxicological assessment, ON-AgNPs and ON-AuNPs were found biocompatible towards human RBCs and macrophages (IC50 > 200 μg/mL). In a concentration range of 62.5–2000 μg/mL, a strong antibacterial effect was produced by ON-AgNPs against Staphylococcus epidermidis (MIC = 7.14 μg/mL) and Escherichia coli (8.25 μg/mL), while ON-AuNPs was only active against Staphylococcus aureus (9.14 μg/mL). At a concentration of 3.9–500 μg/mL, a dose-dependant inhibition of HepG2 cancer cells was produced by ON-AgNPs (IC50 = 14.93 μg/mL) and ON-AuNPs (2.97 μg/mL). Both ON-AgNPs and ON-AuNPs were found active against Leishmania tropica (KMH23) promastigotes (IC50 = 12.56 and 21.52 μg/mL) and amastigotes (17.44 and 42.20 μg/mL), respectively, after exposure to a concentration range of 1–200 μg/mL for 72 h. Preferential enzyme inhibition against urease and carbonic anhydrase II were noted for ON-AgNPs (39.23 and 8.89%) and ON-AuNPs (31.34 and 6.34%), respectively; however, these were found inactive against xanthine oxidase at 0.2 mg/mL. In the in vivo antinociceptive (acetic acid-induced abdominal constrictions) and anti-inflammatory (carrageenan-induced paw edema) activities, ON-AgNPs and ON-AuNPs at doses of 40 and 80 mg/kg, significantly attenuated the tonic nociception (P < 0.001) and ameliorated the carrageenan-induced inflammation (P < 0.01, P < 0.001). The results of in vitro and in vivo activities indicated that the biogenic nanoparticles can be used as valuable theranostic agents for further exploration of diverse biomedical applications.


Phyto-nanotechnology Green synthesis of nanoparticles Green nanotechnology Biological potential of nanoparticles Nanoparticle drug delivery Biocompatible nanoparticles 



The authors highly acknowledge the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway for provision of TEM facility.


The study was funded by the PAK-NORWAY Institutional Cooperation Program, PK3004, and COMSTECH-TWAS project (12-198 RG/PHA/AS_C—UNESCO FR3240270874).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

The in vivo biological activities were performed on BALB/c mice of either sex weighing 25–35 g. The animals were purchased from the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad. These were acclimatized in a 12-h light/dark cycle at 22 ± 2 °C for 1 week prior to experiments. The animals had ad libitum access to food and water during this period. The experimental protocols on animals were approved by the Institutional Animals Use and Care Committee and were in accordance to the NIH guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals.

Healthy adult male volunteers (ages ranging from 20 to 25 years) were recruited for the study and the inclusion was based on obtaining detailed medical history and clinical examination. The aims of the study were explained to the volunteers and informed consent was obtained from the respective participants at the start of the study. The study protocols were approved by the Institutional Ethical Committee and were in accordance with the principles of the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Ovais
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ali Talha Khalil
    • 1
    • 4
  • Abida Raza
    • 2
  • Nazar Ul Islam
    • 5
    Email author
  • Muhammad Ayaz
    • 6
  • Muthupandian Saravanan
    • 7
  • Muhammad Ali
    • 1
  • Irshad Ahmad
    • 8
  • Muhammad Shahid
    • 5
  • Zabta Khan Shinwari
    • 1
    • 4
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyQuaid-i-Azam UniversityIslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.Pakistan Atomic Energy CommissionNational Institute for Lasers and Optronics (NILOP)IslamabadPakistan
  3. 3.Key Laboratory for Biomedical Effects of Nanomaterials and Nanosafety, CAS Center for Excellence in NanoscienceNational Center for Nanoscience and TechnologyBeijingChina
  4. 4.Department of Eastern Medicine and SurgeryQarshi UniversityLahorePakistan
  5. 5.Department of PharmacySarhad University of Science and Information TechnologyPeshawarPakistan
  6. 6.Department of PharmacyUniversity of MalakandChakdaraPakistan
  7. 7.Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, College of Health SciencesMekelle UniversityMekelleEthiopia
  8. 8.Department of Life SciencesKing Fahd University of Petroleum and MineralsDhahranSaudi Arabia
  9. 9.Pakistan Academy of SciencesIslamabadPakistan

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