Development of bactericidal spinel ferrite nanoparticles with effective biocompatibility for potential wound healing applications
The current study was devised to explore the antibacterial activity and underlying mechanism of spinel ferrite nanoparticles (NPs) along with their biocompatibility and wound healing potentials. In this regard, nickel ferrite and zinc/nickel ferrite NPs were synthesized via a modified co-precipitation method and were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). The biocompatibility of the synthesized NPs with human dermal fibroblast (HDF) and red blood cells (RBCs) was assessed. The biocompatible concentrations of the NPs were used to investigate the antimicrobial activity against various pathogenic Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. The mode of bactericidal action was also explored. In vitro scratch assay was performed to evaluate the wound healing potential of NPs. The SEM-EDX analysis showed that the average particles size of nickel ferrite and zinc/nickel ferrite were 49 and 46 nm, respectively, with appropriate elemental composition and homogenous distribution. The XRD pattern showed all the characteristic diffraction peaks of spinel ferrite NPs, which confirmed the synthesis of the pure phase cubic spinel structure. The biocompatible concentration of nickel ferrite and zinc/nickel ferrite NPs was found to be 250 and 125 μg ml−1, respectively. Both the NPs showed inhibition against all the selected strains in the concentration range of 50 to 1000 μg ml−1. Studies on the underlying antimicrobial mechanism revealed damage to the cell membrane, protein leakage, and intracellular reactive oxygen species production. The in vitro scratch assay confirmed the migration and proliferation of fibroblast with artificial wound shrinkage. This study shows that nickel ferrite and zinc/nickel ferrite NPs could be a strong candidate for antibacterial and wound healing nano-drugs.