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This paper describes an approach for preparing gold nanoparticles using an environmentally benign method. This new synthetic route utilizes non-toxic components from soybeans. By using phosphatidylcholine (lecithin) extracted from soy as a ligand, nanoparticles with unique solubility properties were discovered. These lipid-stabilized gold nanoparticles can be synthesized in either aqueous or organic solvents and then can be resuspended in a different solvent without using additional reagents or chemical modification. This reversible solubility change results from the amphiphilic properties of the phosphatidylcholine ligand and can be repeated multiple times without altering the size, shape or optical properties of the nanoparticles.
A summary and link to the full article in the journal Nanotechnology by Marilyn M Mackiewicz, Benjamin R Ayres and Scott Reed can be found at Nanotechweb.org