Directing the size and dispersity of silver nanoparticles with kudzu leaf extracts†
Kudzu is an abundant and invasive species in the Southeastern United States. The prospective use of kudzu as a non-toxic, green and biocompatible reducing and stabilizing agent for one-pot Ag nanoparticle synthesis was investigated. Ag nanoparticles were synthesized using aqueous and ethanolic kudzu leaf and stem extracts. The size and dispersity of the synthesized nanoparticles were found to depend on the extract used. Ultraviolet-visible and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopies were used to characterize the extracts. Surface-enhanced fluorescence and Raman scattering were used to characterize the surface species on synthesized Ag nanoparticles. The primary reducing and stabilizing agents in aqueous kudzu leaf extracts were determined to be reducing sugars and saponins which result in Ag nanoparticles with average diameters of 21.2 ± 4.8 nm. Ethanolic kudzu leaf extract was determined to be composed of chlorophyll, reducing sugars and saponins, producing Ag nanoparticles with average diameters of 9.0 ± 1.6 nm. Control experiments using a chlorophyllin standard as the reducing and stabilizing agent reveal that chlorophyll has a key role in the formation of small and monodisperse Ag nanoparticles. Experiments carried out in the absence of light demonstrate that reducing sugars and saponins also contribute to the formation of Ag nanoparticles in ethanolic kudzu leaf extracts. We propose a mechanism by which reducing sugars donate electrons to reduce Ag+ leading to the formation of Ag nanoparticles, forming carboxylic acid sugars which stabilize and partially stabilize Ag nanoparticles synthesized with aqueous and ethanolic kudzu leaf extracts, respectively. In the ethanolic extract, photoexcited chlorophyll serves as a co-reducing and co-stabilizing agent, leading to small and monodisperse Ag nanoparticles.