Accelerated oxidation of epinephrine by silica nanoparticles

Zhimin Tao, Gang Wang, Jerry Goodisman, Tewodros Asefa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


We have measured the influence of mesoporous silica (MCM-41 and SBA-15) nanoparticles and dense silica nanoparticles on epinephrine oxidation, a pH-dependent reaction, whose rate is small in acidic or neutral solutions but much greater at higher pH. The reaction was measured by monitoring adrenochrome at 480 nm, the product of epinephrine oxidation. In distilled water (dH 2O) with no particles present, the oxidation of epinephrine occurs slowly but more rapidly at higher pH. The presence of MCM-41 or silica spheres does not accelerate the oxidation, but SBA-15 does, showing that the difference in the structures of nanomaterials leads to differing effects on the epinephrine oxidative process. In phosphate buffered saline (PBS, pH = 7.4), epinephrine undergoes a much quicker oxidation, and, in this case, the presence of SBA-15 and MCM-41 makes it even more rapid. Silica spheres have no noticeable influence on the oxidation in PBS or in dH2O. The possibility that the catalytic effect of mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN) could result from the residue of templating chemicals, however, can be excluded due to the postsynthesis calcinations. Experiments with dithionite, added either earlier than or at the same time as the epinephrine addition, show that fast oxidation takes place only when dithionite and epinephrine are simultaneously added into PBS solution. This confirms a vital role of oxygen radicals (probably O 2-) in the oxidation of epinephrine. These oxygen radicals are likely to form and accumulate within the phosphate buffer or in the presence of MSN. Comparing the three kinds of silica nanoparticles applied, we note that mesoporous SBA-15 and MCM-41 materials own much larger surface area than solid silica particles do, whereas MCM-41 possesses a much narrower pore size (0.4-fold) than SBA-15. It seems, therefore, that large surface area, characteristic mesoporosity, and surface structures aid in the deposit of oxygen radicals inside MSN particles, which catalyze the epinephrine oxidation in a favorable phosphate environment

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10183-10188
Number of pages6
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry

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