Using Noni Leaves to Create Zinc and Silver Nanocomposites for Medical Use

Jim Crocker
22nd March, 2024

Using Noni Leaves to Create Zinc and Silver Nanocomposites for Medical Use

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • A study from Universiti Malaya created nanoparticles that kill bacteria and cancer cells using a plant extract
  • The nanoparticles with silver (ZnO/Ag NCs) were more effective against bacteria than those without silver
  • These nanoparticles were also more toxic to lung cancer cells than to non-cancerous cells
In the realm of modern medicine, the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria poses a significant threat to public health. These superbugs can withstand traditional drug treatments, making infections harder to cure and increasing the risk of disease spread. To address this issue, scientists are exploring innovative materials with antibacterial properties, such as nanoparticles. A recent study from Universiti Malaya has made a breakthrough in this area by using a natural plant extract to create nanoparticles that not only fight bacteria but also show promise in cancer treatment[1]. The research focused on synthesizing Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) and ZnO decorated with silver nanocomposites (ZnO/Ag NCs) using Morinda citrifolia leaf extract. Zinc oxide nanoparticles are tiny particles that have been shown to have antimicrobial properties. When these particles are combined with silver, a metal known for its strong antibacterial effects, the result is a composite material that can effectively target and kill bacteria. This study found that the ZnO/Ag NCs were more potent against several types of bacteria, including E. coli and S. aureus, at lower concentrations than ZnO NPs alone. The research team used advanced imaging techniques, such as Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), to observe the structure and shape of the synthesized nanoparticles. They also employed X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis to determine the crystallinity, which refers to how well-ordered the atoms are within the material. These characterizations are essential for understanding how the nanoparticles interact with bacterial cells. The antimicrobial activity of the nanoparticles was tested against common hospital-acquired bacterial pathogens. The results were promising, as the ZnO/Ag NCs showed higher effectiveness at inhibiting bacterial growth at lower doses compared to the ZnO NPs. This is particularly significant because using lower amounts of antimicrobial agents can reduce potential side effects and the risk of developing further resistance. Furthermore, the study delved into the mechanism of how these nanoparticles kill bacteria. It was revealed that the ZnO/Ag NCs disrupt the bacterial cell wall and membrane, leading to the release of the cell's contents and ultimately causing cell death. This mode of action is crucial for designing nanoparticles that can bypass the resistance mechanisms that bacteria have evolved. In addition to their antibacterial prowess, the nanoparticles exhibited selective toxicity towards cancer cells. The ZnO/Ag NCs and ZnO NPs were tested on A549 lung cancer cells and non-cancerous RAW264 macrophage cells. The results showed that both types of nanoparticles were more toxic to the cancer cells than to the macrophage cells, suggesting their potential use in cancer therapy. This study builds upon previous research that has explored the green synthesis of nanoparticles using plant extracts[2][3][4][5]. The use of natural compounds in the synthesis process is advantageous because it is environmentally friendly and can introduce additional beneficial properties to the nanoparticles, such as increased biocompatibility. For instance, prior studies have utilized leaf extracts from Launaea cornuta[2], Trichoderma asperellum from soil[3], and Urginea epigea bulbs[4] to create nanoparticles with antimicrobial properties. Another research used cassava starch and Aloe vera to synthesize Ag/ZnO nanoparticles that effectively disinfected lake water contaminated with bacteria[5]. These studies highlight the versatility of plant-based materials in producing nanoparticles and the potential for a wide range of applications. The findings from Universiti Malaya not only demonstrate a potent new material for combating drug-resistant bacteria but also open the door to further exploration of nanotechnology in treating various diseases, including cancer. The green synthesis approach of using plant extracts to create nanoparticles offers an eco-friendly and potentially cost-effective method for developing new antimicrobial and anticancer agents. With the growing need for alternative treatments, this research marks a significant step towards innovative solutions in healthcare.



Main Study

1) Morinda citrifolia leaf assisted synthesis of ZnO decorated Ag bio-nanocomposites for in-vitro cytotoxicity, antimicrobial and anticancer applications.

Published 21st March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Facile biosynthesis of Ag-ZnO nanocomposites using Launaea cornuta leaf extract and their antimicrobial activity.

3) Trichoderma-Mediated ZnO Nanoparticles and Their Antibiofilm and Antibacterial Activities.

4) Biosynthesis of zinc oxide and silver/zinc oxide nanoparticles from Urginea epigea for antibacterial and antioxidant applications.

5) Synthesis and Characterization of Ag/ZnO Nanoparticles for Bacteria Disinfection in Water.

Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙