• nanoparticles;
  • lead sulfide;
  • marine;
  • biosynthesis;
  • thiols


Biosynthesis of nanoparticles using microorganisms has attracted a lot of attention in recent years as this route has the potential to lead to synthesis of monodisperse nanoparticles. Here, we report the intracellular synthesis of stable lead sulfide nanoparticles by a marine yeast, Rhodosporidium diobovatum. The PbS nanoparticles were characterized by UV-visible absorption spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and energy dispersive atomic spectroscopy (EDAX). UV-visible absorption scan revealed a peak at 320 nm, a characteristic of the nanosize range. XRD confirmed the presence of PbS nanoparticles of cubic structure. Crystallite size as determined from transmission electron microscopy was found to be in the range of 2–5 nm. Elemental analysis by EDAX revealed the presence of particles composed of lead and sulfur in a 1:2 ratio indicating that PbS nanoparticles were capped by a sulfur-rich peptide. A quantitative study of lead uptake through atomic absorption spectrometry revealed that 55% of lead in the medium was accumulated in the exponential phase, whereas a further 35% was accumulated in the stationary phase; thus, the overall recovery of PbS nanoparticles was 90%. The lead-exposed yeast displayed a marked increase (280% over the control) in nonprotein thiols in the stationary phase. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011