Exploring the Behavior and Metabolic Transformations of SeNPs in Exposed Lactic Acid Bacteria. Effect of Nanoparticles Coating Agent

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The behavior and transformation of selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs) in living systems such as microorganisms is largely unknown. To address this knowledge gap, we examined the effect of three types of SeNP suspensions toward Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus LB-12 using a variety of techniques. SeNPs were synthesized using three types of coating agents (chitosan (CS-SeNPs), hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC-SeNPs) and a non-ionic surfactant, surfynol (ethoxylated-SeNPs)). Morphologies of SeNPs were all spherical. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to locate SeNPs in the bacteria. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) on line coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) was applied to evaluate SeNP transformation by bacteria. Finally, flow cytometry employing the live/dead test and optical density measurements at 600 nm (OD600) were used for evaluating the percentages of bacteria viability when supplementing with SeNPs. Negligible damage was detected by flow cytometry when bacteria were exposed to HEC-SeNPs or CS-SeNPs at a level of 10 μg Se mL−1. In contrast, ethoxylated-SeNPs were found to be the most harmful nanoparticles toward bacteria. CS-SeNPs passed through the membrane without causing damage. Once inside, SeNPs were metabolically transformed to organic selenium compounds. Results evidenced the importance of capping agents when establishing the true behavior of NPs.