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Revealing the Importance of Aging, Environment, Size and Stabilization Mechanisms on the Stability of Metal Nanoparticles: A Case Study for Silver Nanoparticles in a Minimally Defined and Complex Undefined Bacterial Growth Medium

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Laboratory of Chemical Analysis (LCA), Department of Green Chemistry and Technology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
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Department of Biotechnology, Laboratory for Environmental Biotechnology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
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Department of Chemistry, Sol-Gel Center for Research on Inorganic Powders and Thin Film Synthesis (SCRiPTS), Faculty of Sciences, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(12), 1684; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9121684
Received: 31 October 2019 / Revised: 14 November 2019 / Accepted: 17 November 2019 / Published: 25 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Nanophotonics, Characterization, Modelling, and Nanodevices)
Although the production and stabilization of metal nanoparticles (MNPs) is well understood, the behavior of these MNPs (possible aggregation or disaggregation) when they are intentionally or unintentionally exposed to different environments is a factor that continues to be underrated or overlooked. A case study is performed to analyze the stability of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs)—one of the most frequently used MNPs with excellent antibacterial properties—within two bacterial growth media: a minimally defined medium (IDL) and an undefined complex medium (LB). Moreover, the effect of aging, size and stabilization mechanisms is considered. Results clearly indicate a strong aggregation when AgNPs are dispersed in IDL. Regarding LB, the 100 nm electrosterically stabilized AgNPs remain stable while all others aggregate. Moreover, a serious aging effect is observed for the 10 nm electrostatically stabilized AgNPs when added to LB: after aggregation a restabilization effect occurs over time. Generally, this study demonstrates that the aging, medium composition (environment), size and stabilization mechanism—rarely acknowledged as important factors in nanotoxicity studies—have a profound impact on the AgNPs stabilization and should gain more attention in scientific research. View Full-Text
Keywords: AgNPs; test medium; size; stabilization mechanism; aging; aggregation AgNPs; test medium; size; stabilization mechanism; aging; aggregation
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MDPI and ACS Style

De Leersnyder, I.; De Gelder, L.; Van Driessche, I.; Vermeir, P. Revealing the Importance of Aging, Environment, Size and Stabilization Mechanisms on the Stability of Metal Nanoparticles: A Case Study for Silver Nanoparticles in a Minimally Defined and Complex Undefined Bacterial Growth Medium. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 1684.

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