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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Engineering tailored nanoparticles with microbes: quo vadis ?

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In the quest for less toxic and cleaner methods of nanomaterials production, recent developments in the biosynthesis of nanoparticles have underscored the important role of microorganisms. Their intrinsic ability to withstand variable extremes of temperature, pressure, and pH coupled with the minimal downstream processing requirements provide an attractive route for diverse applications. Yet, controlling the dispersity and facile tuning of the morphology of the nanoparticles of desired chemical compositions remains an ongoing challenge. In this Focus Review, we critically review the advances in nanoparticle synthesis using microbes, ranging from bacteria and fungi to viruses, and discuss new insights into the cellular mechanisms of such formation that may, in the near future, allow complete control over particle morphology and functionalization. In addition to serving as paradigms for cost‐effective, biocompatible, and eco‐friendly synthesis, microbes hold the promise for a unique template for synthesis of tailored nanoparticles targeted at therapeutic and diagnostic platform technologies. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2016, 8:316–330. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1363

Bacterial synthesis of nanoparticles. (a) Deposition of Ag and Ag2S nanoparticles with varying architectures seen on transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis of Pseudomonas stutzeri cells. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 1999 National Academy of Sciences, USA); (b) Shewanella oneidensis derived bio‐Pd/Au nanoparticles. In this study, the authors report the production of bimetallic nanoparticle catalysts, which were tested for dechlorination of diclofenac and trichloroethylene. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2011 American Chemical Society); (c) Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE‐SEM) image of Micrococcus lylae bacteria used as biotemplates; (d) Morphology of a hierarchical, flower‐like, porous‐Co3O4 nanostructure grown on a bacterial template. The scale bar in the inset represents 200 nm; (e) An enlarged image for one of the anchored areas where the Co3O4 nanostructures are attached and grown on the bacterial surface; (f) Schematic showing the one‐pot synthesis of 3D‐hierarchical Co3O4 structures through cobalt oxides (green) directly assembled onto bacterial surface at room temperature. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2013 Nature Publishing Group)
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Emerging applications of nanoparticles in bioimaging. (a) Surface‐enhanced Raman spectra acquired by using conjugated nanoplexes with tumor‐targeting ligands (left) and nontargeted (right) nanoparticles from tumor and liver locations in mice models. (b) Photographs illustrating a 785 nm laser illuminating a specific anatomical region of a normal mouse and the corresponding lesion on the xenografted mice model. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2008 Nature publishing group). (c) (Left panel) Two‐dimensional axial MRI, photoacoustic and Raman images. The postinjection images of all three modalities display clear tumor visualization on injection of the respective contrast agents. (Right panel) A three‐dimensional rendering of magnetic resonance images with the tumor segmented (red; top), an overlay of the 3D photoacoustic images (green) over the MRI (middle) and an overlay of MRI, the segmented tumor and the photoacoustic images (bottom) showing colocalization of the photoacoustic signal with the tumor. (d) Plasmon‐enhanced Raman spectroscopic guidance of intraoperative surgery. In this study, plasmon‐enhanced Raman spectroscopic tags were used to direct craniotomy in tumor‐bearing mice models. A quarter section of the lesion was serially resected and intraoperative Raman imaging was conducted following each resection step. Interestingly, even following gross removal of the tumor, several small foci of Raman signal were observed in the resection bed (as outlined by the dashed white square). The accompanying color scale represents the range from −40 to 0 dB. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2012 Nature publishing group)
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Mechanistic underpinnings of microbial biosynthesis. (a) Possible mechanism for Ag nanoparticle synthesis in Bacillus licheniformis involving NADH‐dependent nitrate reductase enzyme that converts Ag+ to Ag0 through electron shuttle enzymatic metal reduction process. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2008 Elsevier). (b) Proposed mechanism of Ag nanoparticle biosynthesis by Fusarium oxysporium. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2005 BioMed Central). Nitrate reductase catalyzes the conversion of nitrate to nitrite in the nitrogen cycle by the relevant enzymes of microorganisms. (c) Schematic representation of the NADP‐based nitrate reductase dependent mechanism of Au biomineralization in Rhizopus oryzae. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2012 American Chemical Society)
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Virus‐mediated nanoparticle synthesis. (a) Schematic diagram of the process used to generate nanocrystal alignment by the phage display technique. In this technique bacteriophage M13 virus, with monodisperse size and elongated shape, expresses up to 109 random peptide sequences that were exposed to a well‐defined ZnS crystal surface. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2002 The American Association for the Advancement of Science); (b) and (c) High‐resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR‐TEM) image of the virus. Inset shows fast Fourier transform (FFT) of the lattice image of ZnS nanocrystals. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2003 National Academy of Sciences, USA); (d) Schematic figure of reduction of U(VI) into UO2 by the specifically tailored virus‐FFeNs surface. Step 1: Fe(II) is attached to the M13 virus and reduced to FFeNs in the presence of NaBH4; Step 2: Virus–FFeNs surface is employed to reduce U(VI) functionally; Step 3: Nanocrystalline UO2 is produced and mineralized along the virus, and FFeNs are, in turn, oxidized into amorphous Fe oxides. The biomineralized viruses tend to interlace resulting in a net‐like structure. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2008 IOP Publishing)
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Schematic of algae usage for nanoparticle synthesis. (a) Synthesis of single‐crystalline Ag nanoplates using the extract of Chlorella vulgaris. Proteins in the extract were engaged in the biosynthesis process, specifying the dual function of Ag ion reduction and shape‐controlled synthesis of nanosilver; (b) Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) image of the prepared Ag nanocrystals. The arrows indicate sites where several flat nanoparticles are colocalized. Representative Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE‐SEM) images of circular and triangular Ag nanocrystals are shown in the inset. (c) High‐resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR‐TEM) image from the vertex of an isolated Ag nanoplate. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2007 American Chemical Society)
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Fungal production of silver and gold nanoparticles. (a) X‐ray diffraction (XRD) pattern obtained from dried biomass of Verticillium sp. after the formation of Au nanoparticles. Inset shows fungal biomass before (upper panel) and after (lower panel) exposure to gold ions indicating the formation of Au nanoparticles within fungal biomass. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2001 John Wiley and Sons); (b) and (c) Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images of thin sections of fungal biomass showing the presence of intracellular Au nanoparticles. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2001 John Wiley and Sons); (d) TEM images of Verticillium sp. mycelium showing entrapped Ag nanoparticles. The scale bar corresponds to 1 µm. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2001 American Chemical Society)
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Mauro Ferrari

Mauro Ferrari

started out in mechanical engineering and became interested in nanotechnology with his studies on nanomechanics and nanofluidics. His research work and involvement with setting up some of the premier nano centers and alliances in the world, bringing together universities, hospitals, and federal agencies, showcases interdisciplinarity at work.

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