Scientists have developed special nanoparticles — nanosimes. They are used in molecular biological analyses as a label - they can be used to tint colorless substrates (antibodies, antigens, hormones) during diagnosis. Unlike natural analogues, nanosimes have high signal stability and are also relatively cheap. Scientists note that the use of nanosimes in the future will help reduce the prices of various medical tests, as well as improve their quality. The scientists published information about the features of nanozymes and methods of operation in Molecules. The research was supported by the Russian National Science Foundation (grant No. 22-24-20091) and the Government of the Perm Region.

"Currently, attempts are being made to replace natural enzymes with synthetic nanomaterials — nanozymes. This is done primarily in order to reduce the cost of colorimetric analyses, as well as to make the kits for staining molecules less sensitive to storage conditions. The nanozymes that we have obtained can cope with this task, since they have good catalytic properties, and in terms of signal efficiency and stability they are not inferior to their natural analogue, horseradish peroxidase," explains Artem Minin, assistant at the Department of Biology and Fundamental Medicine of UrFU.

Biologically active molecules are contained in the body in very small quantities, which complicates the possibility of their detection. Enzyme immunoassay is used to detect them. The essence of the method is to bind special antibody proteins to the desired molecules. To detect bound antibodies, an enzyme, horseradish peroxide, is used, which catalyzes a chemical reaction that leads to the formation of color. The more target molecules in the sample, the more antibodies bind and the more the color changes. This allows you to determine the presence and quantity of the desired substances in the sample.

"Horseradish peroxide has its drawbacks, which are related to the difficulty of obtaining it. In this regard, synthetic nanoparticles have an advantage over natural enzymes. For example, the production of nanosimes does not require sophisticated biotechnological equipment with increased sterility. It is enough chemical, and not the most advanced. The nanosimes we obtained were synthesized from Prussian blue, an inexpensive dye," comments Artyom Minin.

Prussian blue is a blue dye that was widely used in the textile industry in the past. However, today it has found application in the medical field. The synthesized nanoparticles were obtained from Prussian blue using hydrogen peroxide and citric acid. The result showed that nanozymes with a size of about 200 nanometers have high catalytic activity.

Synthesized substances that color the analyses. Photo source: UrFU

"We found that Prussian blue exhibits a high level of peroxidase activity. This means that the enzymes of the dye are able to catalyze the oxidation of substances. Horseradish peroxidase has the same properties. The effectiveness of our nanozymes obtained from Prussian blue has been confirmed by their use in several widely used immuno-staining methods, including tissue staining, immunoglobulin analysis and analysis for antibodies to coronavirus," concludes Artem Minin.

It should be noted that the study was carried out jointly with the Institute of Ecology and Genetics of Microorganisms of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Perm State University, the M.N. Mikheev Institute of Metal Physics of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Immunology and Physiology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.


Berlin azure, also known as Prussian blue, was created by chemist Johann Gottlieb Winkler in Berlin in the XVIII century. This synthetic pigment became the first persistent artificial blue dye that was widely used in painting. Today, Prussian blue is used in various fields, including the production of paints and printing, as well as in the ceramics and glass industry.

According to Global Market Insight, the total size of the blood test market reached $75 billion in 2022. According to forecasts, by 2032 its size will increase to 142 billion dollars. Factors such as the rise of chronic diseases, the growing demand for home health care and the rising costs of research in the field of blood tests will stimulate the market.

Main photo: Synthesized substances, tinting assays. Source: UrFU

Information and photos provided by the UrFU press service Information taken from the portal "Scientific Russia" ( /)

Certificate of registration of mass media ЭЛ № ФС 77 - 78868 issued by Roskomnadzor on 07.08.2020