Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2023 Madeline M. Farber. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license. For all other uses, please contact the copyright holder.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Chemistry & Biochemistry Department

First Advisor

Kathryn R. Riley


Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are an increasingly common environmental pollutant with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. The elucidation of their interaction with cellular membranes and subsequent mechanisms of toxicity are critical areas of research that need to be better understood in order to manage potential adverse environmental effects. This work investigates the interaction of AgNPs with large unilamellar vesicles (LUVs) as a model membrane system. Similar studies conducted by others in this field have largely been conducted with uncoated AgNPs, ignoring the effect of environmental conditions on the formation of an eco-corona on AgNPs. Thus, in this study, the spent medium (SM) of a relevant environmental bacterium, Caulobacter crescentus , was used to form a complex eco-corona. We hypothesized that the eco-corona would mediate the in vivo reactivity of AgNPs, specifically through distinct interactions at the cell membrane. The differential reactivity of AgNPs and SM AgNPs is shown through an in vivo toxicity study using C. crescentus. Model membranes were analyzed using dynamic light scattering (DLS), in which AgNP and LUV size and charge are characterized, and fluorescence anisotropy, where changes to LUV membrane fluidity and dynamics are interrogated. Results of the in vivo study are presented in tandem with model membrane studies in order to correlate toxicity effects seen in vivo with potential mechanisms of reactivity at the cell membrane.

Included in

Chemistry Commons