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On the role of surface composition and curvature on biointerface formation and colloidal stability of nanoparticles in a protein-rich model system

: Orts-Gil, Guillermo; Natte, Kishore; Thiermann, Raphael; Girod, Matthias; Rades, Steffi; Kalbe, Henryk; Thünemann, Andreas F.; Maskos, Michael; Österle, Werner


Colloids and surfaces. B 108 (2013), pp.110-119
ISSN: 0927-7765
ISSN: 1873-4367
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ICT-IMM ()
nanoparticles; protein corona; biointerface; BSA; PEG; colloidal stability

The need for a better understanding of nanoparticle–protein interactions and the mechanisms governing the resulting colloidal stability has been emphasised in recent years. In the present contribution, the short and long term colloidal stability of silica nanoparticles (SNPs) and silica–poly(ethylene glycol) nanohybrids (Sil–PEG) have been scrutinised in a protein model system. Well-defined silica nanoparticles are rapidly covered by bovine serum albumin (BSA) and form small clusters after 20 min while large agglomerates are detected after 10 h depending on both particle size and nanoparticle–protein ratio. Oppositely, Sil–PEG hybrids present suppressive protein adsorption and enhanced short and long term colloidal stability in protein solution. No critical agglomeration was found for either system in the absence of protein, proving that instability found for SNPs must arise as a consequence of protein adsorption and not to high ionic environment. Analysis of the small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) structure factor indicates a short-range attractive potential between particles in the silica-BSA system, which is in good agreement with a protein bridging agglomeration mechanism. The results presented here point out the importance of the nanoparticle surface properties on the ability to adsorb proteins and how the induced or depressed adsorption may potentially drive the resulting colloidal stability.