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Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces








Nanoparticle research is often performed in vitro with little emphasis on the potential role of cell culture medium. In this study, gold nanoparticle interactions with cell culture medium and two cancer cell lines (human T-cell leukemia Jurkat and human pancreatic carcinoma PANC1) were investigated. Gold nanoparticles of 10, 25, 50, and 100 nm in diameter at fixed mass concentration were tested. Size distributions and zeta potentials of gold nanoparticles suspended in deionized (DI) water and Dulbecco's Modified Eagle's Media (DMEM) supplemented with fetal calf serum (FCS) were measured using dynamic light scattering (DLS) technique. In DI water, particle size distributions exhibited peaks around their nominal diameters. However, the gold nanoparticles suspended in DMEM supplemented with FCS formed complexes around 100 nm, regardless of their nominal sizes. The DLS and UV-vis spectroscopy results indicate gold nanoparticle agglomeration in DMEM that is not supplemented by FCS. The zeta potential results indicate that protein rich FCS increases the dispersion quality of gold nanoparticle suspensions through steric effects. Cellular uptake of 25 and 50 nm gold nanoparticles by Jurkat and PANC1 cell lines were investigated using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectroscopy. The intracellular gold level of PANC1 cells was higher than that of Jurkat cells, where 50 nm particles enter cells at faster rates than the 25 nm particles.


NOTE: This is the final author’s version (post-print) of a work that was published in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces. The final version was published as:

Sabuncu, A.C., Grubbs, J., Qian, S., Abdel-Fattah, T.M., Stacey, M.W., & Beskok, A. (2012). Probing nanoparticle interactions in cell culture media. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 95, 96-102. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2012.02.022

The final publication is available at: