Physicochemical characterization of nanoparticles and their behavior in the biological environment
Whilst the physical and chemical properties of nanoparticles in the gas or idealized solvent phase can nowadays be characterized with sufficient accuracy, this is no longer the case for particles in the presence of a complex biological environment. Interactions between nanoparticles and biomolecules are highly complex on a molecular scale. The detailed characterization of nanoparticles under these conditions and the mechanistic knowledge of their molecular interactions with the biological world is, however, needed for any solid conclusions with regards to the relationship between the biological behavior of such particles and their physicochemical properties. In the present article we discuss some of the challenges with characterization and behavior of nanoparticles that are associated with their presence in chemically complex biological environments. Our focus is on the stability of colloids as well as on the formation and characteristics of protein coronae that have recently been shown to significantly modify the properties of pristine particles. Finally, we discuss the perspectives that may be expected from an improved understanding of nanoparticles in biological media.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Bunsentagung 2014: ‘Physical Chemistry of Nanoparticles’