The impact of surface capping on cytotoxicity of NiO nanoparticle was investigated with Escherichia coli (E.coli) in this work. The NiO nanoparticle and NiO nanoparticle capped by borate (denoted as NiO-borate) were synthesized by hydrothermal method. The average size
of both nanoparticles is about 4.0 nm. The plate experiments demonstrated that NiO-borate nanoparticles show lower cytotoxicity than NiO nanopaticles. Further spectrophotometric analysis revealed that the concentration of both extracellular and intercellular Ni2+ in NiO-borate system
were lower than that of uncapped one. Intracellular ICP-AES analysis also showed the concentration of Ni element was higher than Ni2+, suggesting the NiO nanoparticles might penetrate into the cellular interior. Comprehensive AFM, SEM and TEM observation illustrated both NiO-borate
and NiO nanoparticles lead to the collapse of cellular body, the convex on the cell wall and the damage of cell wall ultimately. In summary, the surface capping with borate on NiO nanopaticles will suppress the release of the Ni2+ ions and impede the contact between the NiO nanoparticle
and cell wall, which ultimately decreased the cytotoxicity of NiO nanoparticles.
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