Here we report for the first time that proteins can function as unique reducing agents to produce gold nanoparticles from gold salts. We demonstrate that three different proteins, namely, bovine serum albumin (BSA), Rituximab (RIT - an anti-CD20 antibody) and Cetuximab (C225 - anti-EGFR antibody), reduce gold salts to gold nanoparticles (GNP). Interestingly, among all the three proteins tested, only BSA can reduce gold salts to gold nanotriangles (GNT). BSA-induced formation of GNT can be controlled by carefully selecting the reaction condition. Heating or using excess of ascorbic acid (AA) as additional reducing agent shifts the reaction towards the formation of GNP with flower-like morphology, whereas slowing down the reaction either by cooling or by adding small amount of AA directs the synthesis towards GNT formation. GNT is formed only at pH 3; higher pHs (pH 7 and pH 10) did not produce any nanoparticles, suggesting the involvement of specific protein conformation in GNT formation. The nanomaterials formed by this method were characterized using UV-visible (UV-vis) spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). This is an important finding that will have uses in various nanotechnological applications, particularly in the green synthesis of novel nanomaterials based on protein structure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering