Scientists from the National University of Science and Technology “MISiS” (NUST MISIS), as part of an international group of researchers, have synthesised a new material with unique antibacterial and anticancer properties.
According to the authors of the research, the new material holds great promise for use in biomedicine. The results were published in the International Journal of Materials Chemistry and Physics (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0254058421013249)
Researchers from NUST MISIS have developed a technology for producing zinc oxide (ZN) nanorods (NRs). This material has unique properties: it is non-toxic, has high photocatalytic and antioxidant activity.
Scientists have tested the activity of the material against various pathogenic bacteria, such as the Gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. They have also studied the anticancer activity of the synthesised nanorods using colorimetric tests to determine the metabolic activity of the cells.
To develop the new material, the authors have used phytochemicals derived from the leaf extract of Manilkara littoralis, a plant in the Sapotaceae family of tropical forests. Manilkara littoralis is a large evergreen or deciduous tree with milky sap, sometimes a shrub, totalling about 70 species.
“Most of the methods used to synthesise such nanomaterials are expensive or involve the use of toxic materials, which negatively affect humans and the environment. We have applied 'green' synthesis using inexpensive and environmentally friendly materials”, said Evgeny Kolesnikov, an engineer at the NUST MISIS Department of Functional Nanosystems and High-Temperature Materials.
To prepare the extract, scientists have harvested the young leaves of M. littoralis from the rainforests of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India. The leaves were then washed, dried, crushed and the extract was prepared at 80°C.
“We have used this extract as a stabiliser in the synthesis of zinc oxide nanorods, where it acted as an oxidising/reducing agent in the decomposition of acetate. As a result, we were able to develop an alternative way of producing anti-cancer and antibacterial drugs”, said Evgeny Kolesnikov.
According to him, in the future researchers at NUST MISIS are planning to develop a “green” method of synthesising nanomaterials for biomedical applications and expand the list of the resulting materials in terms of composition, structure and morphology under the Priority 2030 programme.
New synthesis technologies will significantly expand the usability of the synthesised materials while ensuring that they are safe for humans and the environment.