Inorganic Particles for Delivering Natural Products

Part of the Sustainable Agriculture Reviews book series (SARV, volume 44)


Natural products are complex molecules that have been widely used in traditional medicine for therapeutics and diagnostics applications. Despite their long history of use, some challenges are associated with many natural product derived pharmaceuticals, like inadequate stability, poor absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. Medicinal chemists have been successful in addressing many of these challenges through structural modifications of the parent compound, but even so, analysis suggests that up to 20% of natural product leads are taken through unchanged as the final drug product. Even modified compounds are a challenge to administer, requiring the use of novel formulations and delivery strategies to enable the launch of an effective natural product derived drug into the market. To outwit these concerns, formulation of these natural product derived bioactive compounds using nanotechnology has been used as a potential tool in diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Compounds of organic or inorganic origin that are prepared from different metals, metal oxides, chitosan, sodium alginate, poly lactic acid, poly lactic co-glycolic acid, synthetic as well as natural origin polymers are amongst commonly used materials for development of natural product nanoformulations.

This book chapter deals in detail with the properties, synthesis, advantages and toxicity of inorganic particles like those of silver, gold, iron oxide and silica with the aim to shed light on the delivery of natural products for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes. Adjustable size and shape, large surface area, ease of functionalization and additional bioactivities associated with inorganic nanoparticles are some of the properties that give them an edge over other delivery methods. Apart from enhancing the stability of molecule, high-density surface ligands attachment enables the targeted delivery with enhanced therapeutic efficacy. Among the inorganic nanoparticles, metallic nanoparticles made up of silver or gold are increasingly being used for biomedical purposes because of their biocompatibility, versatility, broad antimicrobial activity as well as visible light extinction property. Silver and gold possesses peculiar properties such as Surface Plasmon Resonance associated which are not associated with other delivery vehicles like liposomes, dendrimers or micelles. Metal oxides such as Iron oxide (Fe2O3, Fe3O4) and silica (SiO2) with various surface modifications and as hybrid are now the popular choices for delivering natural products for a variety of applications.


Natural product delivery Gold nanoparticles Silver nanoparticles Iron oxide nanoparticles Silica nanoparticles Curcumin Paclitaxel Flavonoids Quercetin 



Food and Drug Administration


Mobil composition of matter no 41


Polyethylene glycol




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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of ImmunologyNew DelhiIndia

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