Gold Nanozymes: From Concept to Biomedical Applications

Javier Lou-Franco, Bhaskar Das, Christopher Elliott, Cuong Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
188 Downloads (Pure)


In recent years, gold nanoparticles have demonstrated excel‑lent enzyme‑mimicking activities which resemble those of peroxidase, oxi‑dase, catalase, superoxide dismutase or reductase. This, merged with their ease of synthesis, tunability, biocompatibility and low cost, makes them excellent candidates when compared with biological enzymes for applica‑tions in biomedicine or biochemical analyses. Herein, over 200 research papers have been systematically reviewed to present the recent progress on the fundamentals of gold nanozymes and their potential applications. The review reveals that the morphology and surface chemistry of the nanopar‑ticles play an important role in their catalytic properties, as well as external parameters such as pH or temperature. Yet, real applications often require specific biorecognition elements to be immobilized onto the nanozymes, leading to unexpected positive or negative effects on their activity. Thus, rational design of efficient nanozymes remains a challenge of paramount importance. Different implementation paths have already been explored, including the application of peroxidase‑like nanozymes for the development of clinical diagnostics or the regulation of oxidative stress within cells via their catalase and superoxide dismutase activities. The review also indicates that it is essential to understand how external parameters may boost or inhibit each of these activities, as more than one of them could coexist. Likewise, further toxicity studies are required to ensure the applicability of gold nanozymes in vivo. Current challenges and future prospects of gold nanozymes are discussed in this review, whose significance can be anticipated in a diverse range of fields beyond biomedicine, such as food safety, environmental analyses or the chemical industry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Number of pages36
JournalNano-Micro Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors J.L., C.E. and C.C. acknowledge funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No. 720325. B.D. and C.C. thank the support from the Commonwealth Split-site Scholarship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Catalysis
  • Nanozymes
  • Diagnosis
  • Nanomedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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