Daniela Benedec 1 , Ilioara Oniga 1 , Flavia Cuibus 1 , Bogdan Sevastre 2 , Gabriela Stiufiuc 3 , Mihaela Duma 4 , Daniela Hanganu 1 , Cristian Iacovita 1 , Rares Stiufiuc 1 , 5 , Constantin Mihai Lucaciu 1
20 February 2018
The leaves and flowering stem of Origanum vulgare contain essential oils, flavonoids, phenolic acids and anthocyanins. We propose a new, simple, one-pot, O. vulgare extract (OVE) mediated green synthesis method of biocompatible gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) possessing improved antioxidant, antimicrobial and plasmonic properties.
Different concentrations of OVEs were used to reduce gold ions and to synthetize biocompatible spherical AuNPs. Their morphology and physical properties have been investigated by means of transmission electron microscopy, ultraviolet–visible absorption spectroscopy, photon correlation spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, whereas their plasmonic properties have been tested using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). The antioxidant properties of nanoparticles (NPs) have been evaluated by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging assay, and the antimicrobial tests were performed using the disk diffusion assay. Their cytotoxicity has been assessed by means of 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay.
The experimental results confirmed the successful synthesis of biocompatible, spherical, plasmonic NPs having a mean diameter of ~40 nm and an outstanding aqueous stability. This new class of NPs exhibits a very good antioxidant activity and presents interesting inhibitory effects against Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans. Due to their plasmonic properties, AuNPs are used as SERS substrates for the detection of a test molecule (methylene blue) up to a concentration of 10 −7 M and a pharmaceutical compound (propranolol) in solution. Cytotoxicity assays revealed that AuNPs are better tolerated by normal human dermal fibroblast cells, while the melanoma cancer cells are more sensitive.
The biocompatible AuNPs synthetized using OVEs showed significant bactericidal and antimycotic activities, the most sensitive microorganisms being S. aureus and C. albicans, both commonly involved in various dermatological infections. Moreover, the significant antioxidant effect might recommend their use for protective and/or preventive effect in various skin inflammatory conditions, including the reduction in side effects in dermatological infections. Meanwhile, the as-synthesized biocompatible AuNPs can be successfully used as SERS substrates for the detection of pharmaceutical compounds in aqueous solutions.