The ability of organisms and organic compounds to reduce metal ions and stabilize them into nanoparticles (NPs) forms the basis of green synthesis. To date, synthesis of NPs from various metal ions using a diverse array of plant extracts has been reported. However, a clear understanding of the mechanism of green synthesis of NPs is lacking. Although most studies have neglected to analyze the green-synthesized NPs (GNPs) for the presence of compounds derived from the extract, several studies have demonstrated the conjugation of sugars, secondary metabolites, and proteins in these biogenic NPs. Despite several reports on the bioactivities (antimicrobial, antioxidant, cytotoxic, catalytic, etc.) of GNPs, only a handful of studies have compared these activities with their chemically synthesized counterparts. These comparisons have demonstrated that GNPs possess better bioactivities than NPs synthesized by other methods, which might be attributed to the presence of plant-derived compounds in these NPs. The ability of NPs to bind with organic compounds to form a stable complex has huge potential in the harvesting of precious molecules and for drug discovery, if harnessed meticulously. A thorough understanding of the mechanisms of green synthesis and high-throughput screening of stabilizing/capping agents on the physico-chemical properties of GNPs is warranted to realize the full potential of green nanotechnology.
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