A facile method was reported for preparing silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) based on naturally occurring N-acylethanolamine (NAE) as a capping agent and sodium borohydride as a reducing agent. NAEs have been found in the infracted areas of canine myocardium and ischemic brain tissues. AgNPs prepared by N-steroylethanolamine (NSEA) are very stable and can be reliably and reproducibly synthesized. These particles have a capability to selective colorimetric sensing of the potentially hazardous Hg2+ion in water at micromolar concentration. The proposed method was successfully employed for the determination of Hg2+ion in blood plasma and also in various water bodies, such as tap water, pond water and sewage water. Further, degradation of hazardous organic pollutant, methylene blue dye, was explored using NSEA-AgNPs as catalyst. Besides selective sensing of Hg2+and degrading hazardous dye, NSEA-AgNPs also shows excellent catalytic activity in the reduction of nitro aromatics. In addition, NSEA-AgNPs shows bactericidal effect in Gram-positive and Gram negative test bacteria, for which the values of minimum inhibitory concentration were determined and reported. In summary, the NSEA-AgNPs reported in this work was a promising candidate for versatile application, such as a sensor, antimicrobial and catalyst. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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