Physiochemical characterization and toxicity assessment of colloidal mercuric formulation–‘Sivanar amirtham’

Kannan N, Shanmuga Sundar S, Balaji S, Anil Kumar NV, Balasubramanian N

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study aims to characterize and understand the toxicological effects of colloidal mercuric formulation. The physiochemical characterization was carried out using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis system (EDS), Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Zeta potential, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) and electron microscopy. Based on the physiochemical characterizations, the pairwise relationship between the parameters such as size, surface area, surface charge, reactivity and band gap energy were described. The biological effects of the sample were studied by both in vitro and in vivo assays. The in vitro cytotoxicity assay confirmed that the colloidal mercuric formulation was effective against cancer cells (MCF-7) and less toxic to normal cells (Hek 293). The formulation was effective against MCF-7 with more than 85% of apoptotic and necrotic cells, positive for PI staining when treated with 100 μg/mL. The inflammatory response on the macrophage cell lines was studied. The colloidal mercuric formulation upregulated the expression of TGF-β, IL-6 and TNF-α, due to the presence of arsenic and other organic compounds such as piperine. The in vivo developmental toxicity was observed in Zebrafish hampered growth and survival in a dose and time dependent manner. The formulation was safe at lower concentration and exhibit a dose and time dependent toxicity. Based on the results obtained, it is confirmed that the selective toxicity towards MCF-7 cells is promising to develop an effective formulation for the treatment of cancer, provided more such proofs obtained from in vivo experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111607
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Publication statusPublished - 04-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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