Production of silver nanoparticles by the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum

Asher Wishkerman, Shoshana Arad

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Diatoms (Bacillariophyceae) are the most species-rich group of algae, they are single-celled characterized by a silicified cell wall called a frustule. Diatoms are diverse in shape with many distinct features like raphe and fultoportulae. The diatom cell wall morphology and its hierarchy structure make it a unique unicellular organism for nanotechnology research and applications. Diatom cells are a promising system for green synthesis of nanomaterials like metallic nanoparticles (NPs), nanostructured polymers and other nanomaterials. The production of NPs is achieved today by using methods like attrition or pyrolysis. The cost and the toxic substances often used in these common methods of NPs synthesis limit their applications. Therefore, NPs biosynthesis by diatom cultures, which can be done at ambient CO2 concentrations, temperature and pressure, offers a sustainable alternative solution. In this work, we examined the formation of silver NPs (AgNPs) by the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum cultivated at 25°C for a period of 8 days. Using this approach, diatom cultures were either grown throughout the duration of the experiment in an artificial seawater (ASW)-f/2 medium enriched with 1 ppm Ag+ or grown in an ASW-f/2 medium where similar silver ion concentrations were added on experimental day 4. We found that 1 ppm Ag+ reduces the P. tricornutum growth by up to 50% as compared with the control. Moreover, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in combination with Energy-Dispersive X-ray (EDX) showed the presence of AgNPs nanoparticles with different sizes and chemical composition associated with the diatom frustules and extracellular polymeric substances.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNanotechnology VIII
EditorsIon M. Tiginyanu
ISBN (Electronic)9781510609976
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
EventNanotechnology VIII 2017 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 8 May 20179 May 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceNanotechnology VIII 2017


  • Diatom
  • Silver
  • algae
  • biosynthesis
  • cell.
  • microalgae
  • nanomaterials
  • nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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