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MOF-derived nanoparticles exhibit enzymelike catalytic activity

Particles display strong antibacterial properties and promote wound healing

by Mitch Jacoby
February 24, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 8


A micrograph of a nanoparticle and a model of its bonding structure.
Credit: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.
This MOF-derived nanoparticle (left, 130 nm in diameter) is endowed with catalytically active Zn-N

Advancing the trend to use metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) in medical applications, researchers in China report that an inexpensive MOF-derived nanomaterial exhibits antibacterial properties and promotes wound healing in mice (Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2019, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201813994). Huiyu Liu of Beijing University of Chemical Technology and colleagues previously developed a procedure for making nanospheres from ZIF-8, a zinc-based MOF with a porphyrin-like structure, and reported that they exhibit antitumor properties when triggered by ultrasound. Now, her team has explored the material’s potential in biocatalysis. The motivation stems from metal-N-C bonding motifs that the nanomaterial shares with metalloenzymes. First, the researchers tested the nanospheres’ ability to mediate oxidation of organic compounds in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. They found that the performance was similar to that of natural horseradish peroxidase and was due to catalytically active Zn-N4 moieties. Then, through a series of in vitro and in vivo tests, the team determined that the nanoparticles inhibited growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a major cause of infection, by nearly 99.9%. Control tests showed that the particles also nearly doubled the rate of wound healing in mice.


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