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Green Synthesis of Zeolite/Fe2O3 Nanocomposites: Toxicity & Cell Proliferation Assays and Application as a Smart Iron Nanofertilizer

Authors Jahangirian H, Rafiee-Moghaddam R, Jahangirian N, Nikpey B, Jahangirian S, Bassous N, Saleh B, Kalantari K, Webster TJ

Received 19 September 2019

Accepted for publication 28 January 2020

Published 13 February 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 1005—1020


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Anderson Oliveira Lobo

Hossein Jahangirian, 1 Roshanak Rafiee-Moghaddam, 1 Narges Jahangirian, 2 Bahareh Nikpey, 3 Siavash Jahangirian, 4 Nicole Bassous, 1 Bahram Saleh, 1 Katayoon Kalantari, 1 Thomas J Webster 1

1Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA; 2Instrumentation and Control Department, Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering, IA University, Tehran North Branch (TNB), Tehran, Iran; 3Department of Agronomy and Plant Breeding, Faculty of Engineering and Agriculture, Science and Research Branch, IA University, Tehran, Iran; 4Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, IA University, Tehran, Iran

Correspondence: Hossein Jahangirian
Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Tel +1 617 860 8429

Purpose: The aim of this study was to prepare zeolite/iron (III) oxide nanocomposites (zeolite/Fe 2O 3–NCs) as a smart fertilizer to improve crop yield and soil productivity.
Methods: Zeolite/Fe 2O 3–NCs were successfully produced by loading of Fe 2O 3-NPs onto the zeolite surface using a quick green precipitation method. The production of zeolite/Fe 2O 3 nanocomposites was performed under a mild condition using environmentally friendly raw materials as a new green chemistry method. The product was characterized using several techniques such as near and far Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
Results: The results confirmed the formation of Fe 2O 3-NPs with mean particle sizes of 1.45, 2.19, and 2.20 nm on the surface of the zeolite per amount of 4, 7 and 12 wt% Fe 2O 3–NPs, respectively. Such results indicated that the size of the Fe 2O 3-NPs did not significantly change when Fe amounts increased from 7 to 12 wt% for the zeolite/Fe 2O 3–NCs. In terms of medical applications, in vitro cell studies demonstrated that zeolites and zeolite/Fe 2O 3–NCs were generally non-toxic to human fibroblast cells and significantly pernicious to human malignant melanoma cells. From MTS cytotoxicity assays, the concentration of Fe 2O 3 within the zeolite/Fe 2O 3–NCs that was effective at inhibiting the growth of malignant melanoma cells by 50% (the IC50 value) was ∼ 14.9 wt%. The three types of nanocomposites were further tested as an iron smart nanofertilizer for the slow-release of iron ions.
Conclusion: Advantages of this project include the production of non-toxic nanocomposites as a smart fertilizer to develop crops while the reaction involves the use of commercial and natural materials as low-cost raw materials with low energy usage due to a mild reaction condition, as well as the use of an environmentally friendly solvent (water) with no toxic residues.

Keywords: green chemistry, iron (III) oxide nanoparticles, zeolite, zeolite/iron (III) oxide nanocomposites, smart nanofertilizer, melanoma, cell proliferation assays

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