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Safe-by-design gelatin-modified zinc oxide nanoparticles

Abstract

We report an innovative low-cost wet precipitation synthesis method for gelatin-modified zinc oxide nanoparticles (GM ZnO NPs) at the interface between the gelatin hydrogel and aqueous electrolyte. Diffusion of ammonia through the hydrogel matrices with different gelatin contents induced precipitation of the product in contact with the surface of the aqueous solution of zinc ions. The obtained precipitate was subjected to thermal treatment to partially decompose the adsorbed gelatin in the NP structure. Physicochemical properties of obtained GM ZnO NPs were characterized by X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), differential thermal analysis (DTA), thermogravimetry (TG), photon correlation spectroscopy (PCS), zeta potential measurements, and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The estimated mean crystallite size of GM ZnO NP powders was in the range from 5.8 to 12.1 nm. The synthesized NPs exhibited nanosheet morphology and arranged into flake-like aggregates. The toxic potential was investigated in vitro in human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line HepG2. The thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide (MTS) assay was used to assess cell viability, 2′,7′-dichlor-fluorescein-diacetate (DCFH-DA) assay to examine the formation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), and comet assay to evaluate the genotoxic response. GM ZnO NPs slightly reduced HepG2 cell viability, did not induce ROS formation, and showed low genotoxic potential at very high doses (100 µg mL−1). ZnO NPs fabricated and modified using the proposed methodology deserve further study as potential candidates for antibacterial agents or dietary supplements with low overall toxicity.

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The data and materials that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Codes for calculations are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Dr. Ljiljana Veselinović from the Institute of Technical Sciences of SASA for the acquisition of XRD spectra. We also acknowledge the support of the funding sources: the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia (Agreement on realization and financing of scientific research work of the Institute of Technical Sciences of SASA in 2021 (Record number: 451-03-9/ 2021-14/200175)), COST Action CA15114, the bilateral collaboration between Serbia and Slovenia (BI-RS/16-17-039), and Slovenian Research Agency (Program P1-0245).

Funding

Funds for the realization of the research work in the Institute of Technical Sciences of SASA are provided by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia according to the Agreement on realization and financing of scientific research work of the Institute of Technical Sciences of SASA in 2021 (Record number: 451–03-9/2021–14/200175). This work was also supported by a COST Action CA15114, a bilateral collaboration between Serbia and Slovenia (BI-RS/16–17-039) and Slovenian Research Agency (Program P1-0245). The funding sources were not involved in the research process and the decisions related to publishing.

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Conceptualization: Željko Janićijević. Data curation: Željko Janićijević, Ana Stanković, Bojana Žegura, Đorđe Veljović. Formal analysis: Željko Janićijević, Ana Stanković, Bojana Žegura. Funding acquisition: Metka Filipič, Magdalena M. Stevanović. Investigation: Željko Janićijević, Ana Stanković, Bojana Žegura, Đorđe Veljović, Ljiljana Djekić, Danina Krajišnik, Magdalena M. Stevanović. Methodology: Željko Janićijević, Ana Stanković, Bojana Žegura, Ljiljana Djekić, Danina Krajišnik, Magdalena M. Stevanović. Project administration: Metka Filipič, Magdalena M. Stevanović; Resources: Metka Filipič, Magdalena M. Stevanović; Software: Željko Janićijević. Supervision: Metka Filipič, Magdalena M. Stevanović. Validation: Željko Janićijević, Ana Stanković, Bojana Žegura, Đorđe Veljović. Visualization: Željko Janićijević, Ana Stanković, Bojana Žegura. Writing—original draft: Željko Janićijević, Ana Stanković, Bojana Žegura. Writing—review and editing: Željko Janićijević, Ana Stanković, Bojana Žegura, Đorđe Veljović, Ljiljana Djekić, Danina Krajišnik, Metka Filipič, Magdalena M. Stevanović.

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Correspondence to Željko Janićijević.

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Janićijević, Ž., Stanković, A., Žegura, B. et al. Safe-by-design gelatin-modified zinc oxide nanoparticles. J Nanopart Res 23, 203 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11051-021-05312-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11051-021-05312-3

Keywords

  • ZnO
  • Nanoparticles
  • Precipitation
  • Gelatin
  • Hydrogel
  • Toxicity
  • Health effects