Biologists Create Nanogold for Medicine and Agronomy

RUDN biologists in collaboration with scientists from Iran have obtained gold nanoparticles using harmless fungi living on a peach tree. The resulting particles proved to be useful in the fight against a pathogenic fungus that infects rice and potatoes. Potentially, nanoparticles can be used in medicine. The results are published in Molecules.

Gold nanoparticles can be used in anticancer drug delivery systems, as biosensors, in the creation of muscle tissue, and in other areas of modern medicine. In addition, gold nanoparticles also have an antifungal effect. This can be useful in agriculture to control pathogenic fungi that infect plant crops. However, the antifungal properties of nanogold are still largely unexplored. RUDN biologists, together with colleagues from Iran, have obtained gold nanoparticles from endophyte fungi, that is, fungi that live on plants and do not interfere with their life. The resulting particles proved to be an effective agent against pathogenic fungi.

“Endophytic fungi are potential sources of bioactive substances that are used in medicine, agriculture, industry, and biology. Their derivatives exhibit antitumor, immunomodulatory, antituberculosis, antiviral and antidiabetic activity. Therefore, the study of endophytes living on various plants will provide an opportunity to discover new useful compounds. At the same time, endophytes are easier to cultivate than other microorganisms,” said Meisam Zargar, PhD, Associate Professor of the Agrobiotechnological Department of RUDN University

RUDN University biologists have made endophytes living on a peach tree a source of nanogold. Biologists have studied the effect of the obtained nanoparticles against the pathogenic fungus Rhizoctonia solani, which infects, for example, rice and potatoes.

Nanogold was able to destroy up to 93% of the pathogen. The experiment showed a direct dependence of efficiency on the number of nanoparticles: the maximum is achieved at a concentration of 80 micrograms per milliliter, and a concentration 8 times less is capable of destroying 15% of the pathogen.

“Fungal-assisted biosynthesis offers opportunities for the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly gold nanoparticles with antibacterial properties. Their impact on crops is of growing interest and requires careful study. Our results form the basis for the development of nanoparticle-based agents. They can become a platform for future research, commercialization of products and, we hope, will help to take a step towards sustainable agriculture,” said Meisam Zargar, PhD, Associate Professor of the Agrobiotechnological Department of RUDN University.