Synthesis of salt-stable fluorescent nanoparticles (quantum dots) by polyextremophile halophilic bacteria.


BioNanotechnology and Microbiology Lab, Center for Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology (CBIB), Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile. [Email]


Here we report the biological synthesis of CdS fluorescent nanoparticles (Quantum Dots, QDs) by polyextremophile halophilic bacteria isolated from Atacama Salt Flat (Chile), Uyuni Salt Flat (Bolivia) and the Dead Sea (Israel). In particular, a Halobacillus sp. DS2, a strain presenting high resistance to NaCl (3-22%), acidic pH (1-4) and cadmium (CdCl2 MIC: 1,375 mM) was used for QDs biosynthesis studies. Halobacillus sp. synthesize CdS QDs in presence of high NaCl concentrations in a process related with their capacity to generate S2- in these conditions. Biosynthesized QDs were purified, characterized and their stability at different NaCl concentrations determined. Hexagonal nanoparticles with highly defined structures (hexagonal phase), monodisperse size distribution (2-5 nm) and composed by CdS, NaCl and cysteine were determined by TEM, EDX, HRXPS and FTIR. In addition, QDs biosynthesized by Halobacillus sp. DS2 displayed increased tolerance to NaCl when compared to QDs produced chemically or biosynthesized by non-halophilic bacteria. This is the first report of biological synthesis of salt-stable QDs and confirms the potential of using extremophile microorganisms to produce novel nanoparticles. Obtained results constitute a new alternative to improve QDs properties, and as consequence, to increase their industrial and biomedical applications.

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