Direct isolation of flavonoids from plants using ultra-small anatase TiO2 nanoparticles

Jasmina Kurepa, Ryo Nakabayashi, Tatjana Paunesku, Makoto Suzuki, Kazuki Saito, Gayle E. Woloschak, Jan A. Smalle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Surface functionalization of nanoparticles has become an important tool for in vivo delivery of bioactive agents to their target sites. Here we describe the reverse strategy, nanoharvesting, in which nanoparticles are used as a tool to isolate bioactive compounds from living cells. Anatase TiO2 nanoparticles smaller than 20 nm form strong bonds with molecules bearing enediol and especially catechol groups. We show that these nanoparticles enter plant cells, conjugate enediol and catechol group-rich flavonoids in situ, and exit plant cells as flavonoid-nanoparticle conjugates. The source plant tissues remain viable after treatment. As predicted by the surface chemistry of anatase TiO2 nanoparticles, quercetin-based flavonoids were enriched amongst the nanoharvested flavonoid species. Nanoharvesting eliminates the use of organic solvents, allows spectral identification of the isolated compounds, and opens new avenues for use of nanomaterials for coupled isolation and testing of bioactive properties of plant-synthesized compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-453
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • anatase TiO nanoparticles
  • catechols
  • flavonoids
  • stress
  • technical advance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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