Green synthesis of iron nanoparticles using flower extract of Piliostigma thonningii and their antibacterial activity evaluation

Okenwa Uchenna Igwe and Francis Nwamezie

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Iron nanoparticles have gained tremendous attention due to their application in magnetic storage media, ferrofluids, biosensors, catalysts, separation processes, environmental remediation and antibacterial activity. In the present paper, iron
nanoparticles were synthesized using aqueous flower extract of Piliostigma thonningii, a natural nontoxic herbal infusion. Iron nanoparticles were generated by reaction of ferrous chloride solution with the flower extract. The reductants
present in the flower extract acted as reducing and stabilizing agents. UV-vis analysis of the iron nanoparticles showed continuous absorption in the visible range suggesting the iron nanoparticles were amorphous. This was confirmed by
X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis which did not have distinct diffraction peaks. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis revealed that the synthesized iron nanoparticles were aggregated as irregular clusters with rough surfaces. FT-IR
studies showed the functional groups that participated in the bio-reduction process to include a C-H stretch (due to alkane CH3, CH2 or CH), C=O stretch (due to aldehydes), O-H bend (due to tert-alcohol or phenol), C-O stretch (due to
aldehydes or phenols) and C-O stretch (due to alcohols) corresponding to absorptions at 2929.00, 1721.53, 1405.19, 1266.31 and 1030.02 cm-1 respectively. The iron nanoparticles showed significant antibacterial activity against Escharichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus suggesting potential antibacterial application.