In vivo toxicity and antimicrobial activity of AuPt bimetallic nanoparticles

  • Daniela Maria Ducatti Formaggio
  • Xisto Antonio de Oliveira Neto
  • Lina Dayse Alcântara Rodrigues
  • Vitor Martins de Andrade
  • Bruna C. Nunes
  • Mônica Lopes-Ferreira
  • Fabiana G. Ferreira
  • Cristiane C. Wachesk
  • Emerson R. Camargo
  • Katia Conceição
  • Dayane Batista TadaEmail author
Research Paper


Despite the potential antimicrobial activity of metallic nanoparticles, the increasing concerns about nanosafety have been holding back the use of these materials in therapeutics and biomedical devices. In the last years, several studies called attention to metallic nanoparticles toxicity. In the most part of in vitro studies performed with mammalian cells, metallic NPs reduced cell viability and induced genotoxicity and inflammatory responses. Bimetallic NPs have attracted great attention because they present distinct and even more advanced characteristics when compared to nanoparticles formed by a single metal. Recently, bimetallic NPs have emerged as an alternative to improve the antimicrobial activity of metallic nanoparticles, aiming at the broadening of the action spectrum and the reduction of the toxicity. However, the biocompatibility of bimetallic nanoparticles has been demonstrated only by in vitro studies. In the present work, the toxicity of AuPt nanoparticles was addressed both in vitro and in vivo. In addition, the antimicrobial activity of AuPt bimetallic nanoparticles has been evaluated in comparison with Au and Ag nanoparticles. The nanoparticles were characterized by ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, transmission electron microscopy, inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction. The antimicrobial activity was studied against Candida albicans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus. The toxicity of nanoparticles was evaluated in vitro by analyzing their toxicity against human fibroblast cells (HS68 cell line) and in vivo by embryonic toxicity test in zebrafish (Danio rerio). The results confirmed the intrinsic antimicrobial activity of the three types of nanoparticles but different toxicity. Bimetallic nanoparticles showed enhanced antimicrobial activity in comparison with Au nanoparticles but lower antimicrobial activity compared with Ag nanoparticles. However, AuPt nanoparticles showed great advantage over Ag nanoparticles due to the absence of cytotoxicity and lower toxicity in vivo.


Gold nanoparticles Silver nanoparticles Bimetallic nanoparticles Antimicrobial activity Toxicity Zebrafish Environmental and health effects 



The authors would like to thank Dr. João Paulo Barros Machado from INPE for the availability of the equipment and technical support on the X-ray diffractometry.

Funding information

This work had financial support from FAPESP (2011/23895-8, 2017/01697-6, 2017/0032-0), CNPQ (306874/2015-6), CAPES, and CeTICS CEPID (FAPESP).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniela Maria Ducatti Formaggio
    • 1
  • Xisto Antonio de Oliveira Neto
    • 2
  • Lina Dayse Alcântara Rodrigues
    • 1
  • Vitor Martins de Andrade
    • 2
  • Bruna C. Nunes
    • 1
  • Mônica Lopes-Ferreira
    • 3
  • Fabiana G. Ferreira
    • 1
  • Cristiane C. Wachesk
    • 1
  • Emerson R. Camargo
    • 4
  • Katia Conceição
    • 2
  • Dayane Batista Tada
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Nanomaterials and NanotoxicologyUniversidade Federal de São PauloSão PauloBrasil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Bioquímica de PeptídeosUniversidade Federal de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Immunoregulation Unit of the Special Laboratory of Applied Toxinology (CeTICS, CEPID/FAPESP)Instituto ButantanSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Department of ChemistryUFSCar–Federal University of São CarlosSão CarlosBrazil

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