Advances in Nanoparticles, 2013, 2, 241-246 Published Online August 2013 (
Green Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles with High
Fungicidal Activity from Olive Seed Extract
Habeeb Khadri1, Mohammad Alzohairy1, Avilala Janardhan2,
Arthala Praveen Kumar2, Golla Narasimha2*
1Department of Medical Laboratory, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Qassim University, Qassim, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2Applied Microbiology Laboratories, Department of Virology, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, India
Email: *
Received May 23, 2013; revised June 23, 2013; accepted July 1, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Habeeb Khadri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License,
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Silver nanoparticles in the form of silver based chemicals trace back their origin to time immemorial since the dilute
forms of silver nitrate were used in place of antibiotics before they dominated the field of medicine. But, it has now
become necessary to explore the anti-microbial properties of silver based chemicals again due to the microbes gaining
resistance against the wide range of present day antibiotics. The advancements in the field of medicine and technology
started to coalesce to combat the adaptability of microbes as they successfully become tolerant to antibiotics and it
manifested in the form a current technology, Nanomedicine. Nanomedicine deals about the medicines at a nano scale to
rarefy the intensity of medicine to unaffected tissues and reduce the volume of medicine used. In the present context,
our attempt is to develop potential anti-microbial particles in the form of silver nanoparticles by using the biological
phenomena which we call Green synthesis an eco-friendly approach to conventional chemical synthesis. The enzymatic
machinery of the olive seeds has been exploited to produce silver nanoparticles and test their efficacy as antifungal
agents before we characterized their physical properties using UV-Vis, TEM, and FTIR analysis. The efficacy of these
particles as antagonists on fungal pathogen Aspergillus niger a causative agent of Aspergillosis in human beings and is
promising and they have a lot of scope for the purpose and hope the technology leads the next generation of anti-mi-
Keywords: Olive Seeds; Silver Nanoparticles; Characterization; Fungicidal Activity
1. Introduction
Nanotechnology is one of the most interesting and open
inquisitive fields for research in modern material science.
The nano-sized particles of routine materials are emerg-
ing surprisingly with new applications at a brisk pace.
The conventional methods of synthesis of nanoparticles
using chemical means disturb the tranquility of the eco-
system and pose a serious environmental threat and thus
novel methods that address the ecological safety are to be
explored for and also consequently they must increase
quantitatively the output to benefit from the advantages
of nanotechnology. Living systems are bequeathed with
several chemical principles and hence the biomimetic ap-
proach of utilizing them could be a best alternative sig-
nificantly reducing the usage of chemical reagents. Wide
range of biological systems from bacteria to plants and
mammals can be used for synthesizing nano-sized parti-
cles of interest. However, ethical constraints and the pro-
ductivity force us towards the microbes and plants. Most
important of them is synthesis using plant extracts elimi-
nating the laborious process involving the maintenance
of microbial cultures. Biological molecules as reducing
agents and oxidizing agents are signicantly safe over their
chemical counterparts thus obviating the need of chemi-
cal reagents for synthesis. By taking the above aspects
into consideration, biological sources and biomaterials are
best alternative means by all means for the synthesis of
nanoparticles. In recent years, various chemical methods
have been replaced by biological for the synthesis of sil-
ver nanoparticles [1,2]. The natural products such as mo-
nosaccharide or plant extracts have been used as reducing
agents during these studies. Microbiological methods are
much slower than plant extracts and other chemical re-
ducing agents for production of nanoparticles as ob-
served from many studies. Commercial viability of the
nanoparticles would be greater when they could be syn-
*Corresponding author.
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thesized biologically and more rapidly in the reaction
vessels. In general, all the biological systems are rich in
reductase enzymes and olive plant is no exception, and
they obviously carry the ability of reducing inorganic
salts to their respective elemental forms and this mecha-
nism has been exploited earlier and the present attempt is
to use olive seeds for reducing silver nitrate salts to me-
tallic silver and olives that have an advantage because of
their inherent antimicrobial abilities. Sastry and collea-
gues [3] pioneered the use of plant extracts to synthesize
nanoparticles and have reported syntheses of nanoparti-
cles at rates on par with chemical reagents. Various me-
tallic nanoparticles of Silver, Gold, Zinc, Palladium etc.,
are being synthesized using biological systems [4].
Uchida et al., 2003 [5], Kumar and Munsted [6] sug-
gested that the antimicrobial activity of Ag may be due to
the binding of the Ag+ cation to electron donor groups in
biological molecules containing sulfur, oxygen or nitrogen
(e.g. enzymes) which, in turn, results in the loss of their
function. Another explanation was put forward by Kim et
al 2007 [7] is based on the generation of free radicals
from the surface of the Ag-NPs which finally result in
breakdown of bacterial membrane function. Khalil et al.
(2001) [8] reported that due to the presence of many ac-
ids like, protocatechuic acid, coumaric acid, ferulic acid,
cinnamic acid, oleuropein etc., the olive plant has excel-
lent antifungal properties. Olive cakes have shown antifun-
gal properties against several fungi like Fusarium, Rhizopus,
Stemphylium, Rhizoctonia, Alternaria etc. In our current
study, the silver nanoparticles have been synthesized
using screened extracts of the olive plant seeds and re-
port that silver nanoparticles can be applied effectively in
the control of microorganisms and the prevention of
deleterious infections. Our results support the hypothesis
that Ag nanoparticles can be prepared in a simple and
cost-effective manner and are suitable for formulation of
new types of fungicidal agents. UV-Vis spectral analyses,
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier trans-
form infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis was used to
characterize the silver nanoparticles formed.
2. Experimental Details
2.1. Preparation of Dried Biomass
The fresh olive plant seeds were exposed to the sun until
they were completely dried. The extract used for the re-
duction was prepared by crushing the dried seeds and
then screening the seed powder by a 20 mesh sieve.
2.2. Biosynthesis of Silver Nanoparticles
The olive plant seed extraction was prepared by boiling a
mixture of 5 g of sieved dried seeds powder into 100 mL
of sterile distilled water in an Erlenmeyer ask for 5 min
and filtered through Whatman No.1 filter paper (pore
size 25 μm). The filtrate was further filtered through 0.6
μm sized filters. The solution was decanted and stored at
4˚C; it was used within a week of its preparation.1mM
aqueous solution of silver nitrate (AgNO3) was prepared
and used for the synthesis of silver nanoparticles. 10 ml
of olive seed extract was added into 90 ml of aqueous
solution of 1 mM silver nitrate for bioreduction of Ag+
ions in the solution and kept at room temperature for 24
2.3. UV-Vis Spectrum Analysis
The bioreduction of pure Ag+ ions in aqueous solution
was monitored by sampling of aliquots of suspension
subsequently measured UV-Vis spectrum of the reaction
medium at 24 hours after diluting a small aliquot of the
sample into distilled water. UV-Vis spectral analysis of
silver was done at room temperature on UV-Vis spec- tro-
photometer Thermo Genesys UV 10 at resolution of 1 nm.
2.4. TEM Studies of Silver Nanoparticles
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis was
prepared by drop-coating Ag nanoparticle solutions onto
carbon-coated copper TEM grids. The films on the TEM
grids were allowed to stand for 2 min, following which
the extra solution was removed using a blotting paper
and the grid allowed for drying prior to measurement.
TEM measurements were performed on a JEOL Model
1200EX instrument operated at an accelerating voltage at
120 kV.
2.5. FTIR Analysis of Silver Nanoparticles after
For Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy meas-
urements, dry powders of the nanoparticles were obtained
in the following manner. The Ag nanoparticles synthe-
sized after 24 h of reaction of the Silver nitrate with the
olive seed extract were centrifuged at 10,000 rpm for 15
min, following which the pellet was dispersed in sterile
distilled water to get rid of any uncoordinated biological
molecules. The process of centrifugation and dispersion
in sterile distilled water was repeated three times to en-
sure better separation of free entities from the metal
nanoparticles. The puried pellets were then dried and
the powders subjected to FTIR spectroscopy measure-
2.6. Antifungal Assay
The silver nanoparticles in water were tested for their
antifungal activity by the agar well diffusion method. The
plant pathogenic fungal strain, Aspegillus niger, Asper-
gillus flavus, Rhizoctonia bataticola, Sclerotium rolfsii,
Alternaria macrospora a causative agents of collar rot,
root rot, dry rot, stem rot and leaf spot respectively, was
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. ANP
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. ANP
C-H bonds in aromatic rings that are found in Coumaric
acid, Ferulic acid etc. The final peak at the 1104 region
corroborates the antifungal activity further due to the
presence of compounds from olive seed extract that have
ether and ester forming C=O setups [10-12].
used for this analysis. This fungal spore suspension was
seeded in Czapek-Dox agar plates by the pour plate tech-
nique. Three cavities were made using a cork borer (10
mm diameter) at an equal distance and were filled with
the silver nanoparticle solution and then incubated at room
temperature for 7 days. The formation of a clear zone
(restricted fungal growth) around the cavity is an indica-
tion of antifungal activity.
Hence from the above observations, it can be inferred
that the silver nanoparticles produced from olive seed
extract have higher microbicidal activity due to the pres-
ence of active biological compounds from olive seeds.
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis fi-
nally confirmed the synthesis of spherical silver nanopar-
ticles in the reaction mixture (Figure 3) which can have
a higher surface area to mass ratio. Following the TEM
study, a clear indication is obtained regarding the shape
and size of the nanoparticles and the silver nanoparticles
formed were predominantly of monodisperse nature with
their diameter ranging approximately from 2 to 30 nm,
which are certainly very much in the size range to in-
crease surface plasmon resonance effect and to impart
higher antimicrobial effect.
3. Results and Discussion
Characterization of Silver Nanoparticles
It is well known that silver nanoparticles exhibit reddish
brown color in aqueous solution due to excitation of sur-
face plasmon vibrations in silver nanoparticles. Ag2+ ions
of silver nitrate are found to be reduced to Ag atoms. It is
generally recognized that UV-Vis spectroscopy could be
used to examine size and shape controlled nanoparticles
in aqueous suspensions. Figure 1 show the UV-Vis spec-
trum recorded from the reaction medium after 6 hours
and gives rise to an absorption band at 419 nm [9]. Diligent observation of various magnications of TEM
images of the synthesized silver nanoparticles clearly de-
fine the range of the size from 2 to 20 nm and the FTIR
analyses confirm that the larger size of the nanoparticles
might be due to the capping of nanoparticles by biologi-
cally active natural acids from olive plants. Silver nanopar-
ticles of a relatively large surface area may easily interact
with other particles and increase their antimicrobial effi-
ciency [13]. The synthesized silver NPs consist of sphere-
cal-shaped with irregular contours. The resultant histo-
gram representing the size distribution of the particles
was obtained by digital analysis of TEM images con-
taining particles. The distribution of the particle diame-
ters showed as main peak located between 10 and 40 nm
and the sizes ranging from 1 to 50 nm with an average
particles size of 30 nm (Figure 4).
To identify the possible biomolecules responsible for
the reduction of the Ag+ ions and excapping of the bio-
reduced silver nanoparticles synthesized using olive seed
extract, FTIR studies were carried out and the represent-
tative spectrum of the nanoparticles obtained in the pre-
sent study is presented in Figure 2. Among them, the
absorption peak at around 2921, 1562, 1442, 1104 cm1
can be assigned as absorption peaks. The broad peak
obtained at the 2921 region suggests the presence of or-
ganic acid groups which support the higher fungicidal
efficacy of silver nanoparticles as already mentioned above
under reference [8] that olive plant has fungicidal organic
acids like Protocatechuic acid, Coumaric acid, Ferulic
acid etc. The narrow peaks at 1562 and 1442 regions
clearly evince the presence of stretches of C=C-C and
(a) (b)
Figure 1. (a) Silver nanoparticles before and after bioreduction (Ag+ to Ago); (b) UV absorption spectra of silver nanoparti-
cles after bioreduction by olive seed extract.
Figure 2. FTIR spectra of Agnps.
Figure 3. TEM micrographs of Agnps.
Silver is highly antimicrobial and this effect is de-
pendent on superficial contact with enzymatic systems of
the respiratory chain by alter DNA synthesis [14,15]. Size
reduction i.e. the nano-scale particle syntheses involve
the increase of surface area for contact, which is an im-
portant tool for the effects of silver and reasons to con-
sider silver as superior is its broad antimicrobial activity
[16]. So we derive enhanced antimicrobial activity with-
out aesthetic modifications and sticking to the low pro-
duction cost can be achieved by using silver nanoparti-
Figure 4. Size distributions of Ag nanoparticles.
cles. Ever growing antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria
constantly forces the scientific community to search for
and to develop novel antibiotics and many new antibio-
tics have been introduced in the last decade and unfortu-
nately none of them was successful in combatting the
multi-drug resistant strains [17]. As the nanoparticles
have delivered and demonstrated effective antimicrobial
activities, the development of novel preparations in this
field finds attractive alternative to antibiotics. To authen-
ticate, nanoparticles have been examined for their ability
to suppress microbial infections in skin [18] and burn
wounds [19], and even in preventing bacterial coloniza-
tion and the results are promising. Reduction in the size
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. ANP
of the particles of the materials is an efficient and reliable
tool for reinforcing their biocompatibility. In fact, nano-
technology helps in overcoming the limitations of size
and can change the outlook of the world regarding sci-
ence [20]. Studies reveal that the antimicrobial activity of
the silver particles is due to their positive charge that
qualifies them in reacting with the negatively charged
proteins on the cell membranes and thus contributing to
their antimicrobial activities [21-23]. Many reports have
suggested the efficacy of silver nanoparticles of their
antimicrobial activities and to mention some as follows.
Kim et al. [24] have obtained positive results against E.
coli and S. aureus where as a more profound effect was
seen against E. coli and comparably a milder effect against
S. aureus. Kim et al. [24] also obtained strong antifungal
activity for silver nanoparticles against Yeast cells. They
further observed a concentration dependant toxicity of
silver nanoparticles against bacteria with nanoparticles
ranging from 3.3 nM to 6.6 nM [7]. The antifungal ef-
fects of silver nanoparticles were estimated against eight-
een plant pathogenic fungi that included genera of Py-
thium, Fusarium, Alternar ia, Bo trytis, Cladosporium,
Corynespora, Cylindrocarpon, Stemphylium etc., by Kim
et al. [24]. The antifungal activity of the synthesized
nanoparticles has been tested against different fungal
plant pathogens namely Aspergillus niger (Collar rot),
Aspergillus falvus (Root rot), Rhizoctonia bataticola (Dry
rot), Sclerotium rolfsii (Stem rot) and Alternaria macro-
spora (Leaf spot) using agar well diffusion method. The
results were represented in Table 1. The Aspergillus ni-
ger was sensitive to the nanoparticles and it showed the
zone of inhibition up to 1.6 cm.
The Rhizoctonia bataticola showed lower resistance
and the zone of inhibition was measured as 1.3 cm when
compared to the other plant fungal pathogens. This is
consistent with previous reports that stated antimicrobial
activity of silver was different depending on microbial
4. Conclusion
The present study demonstrates the ecofriendly nature of
the synthesis of silver nanoparticles at a rate on par with
Table 1. Fungicidal activity of silver nanoparticles.
Zone of inhibition( in cm)
Fungal strains
25 µl 50 µl 75 µl100 µl
Aspergillus niger 0.5 0.8 1.2 1.6
Aspergillus flavus 0.3 0.6 1.0 1.4
Rhizoctonia bataticola 0.4 0.5 0.9 1.3
Sclerotium rolfsii 0.3 0.7 1.0 1.4
Alternaria macrosp o r a 0.4 0.8 1.1 1.5
Standard (Clotrimazole antibiotic) 0.5 0.7 1.1 1.4
chemical synthesis from the plant seed extract. The syn-
thesized nanoparticles were characterized by UV-VIS,
FTIR and TEM analysis. The average size of the silver
nanoparticles was ranging from 10 to 30 nm. Peak asso-
ciated with proteins/enzymes on FTIR analysis was ap-
pears more likely that the reduction of silver ions and
stabilization of synthesized silver nanoparticles is the re-
sponsibility of many functional groups, including amines,
alcohols, ketenes, aldehydes, and carboxylic acids, that
are present in various metabolites such as terpenoids and
reducing sugars. The silver nanoparticles thus synthe-
sized are potential enough to kill pathogenic fungi, Aspegil-
lus niger a causative agent of Aspergillosis in human
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