Biomolecules present in plant extracts can be used to reduce metal ions to nanoparticles in a single-step green synthesis process. This biogenic reduction of metal ion to base metal is quite rapid, readily conducted at room temperature and pressure, and easily scaled up. Synthesis mediated by plant extracts is environmentally benign. The reducing agents involved include the various water soluble plant metabolites (e.g. alkaloids, phenolic compounds, terpenoids) and co-enzymes. Silver (Ag) and gold (Au) nanoparticles have been the particular focus of plant-based syntheses. Extracts of a diverse range of plant species have been successfully used in making nanoparticles. In addition to plant extracts, live plants can be used for the synthesis. Here we review the methods of making nanoparticles using plant extracts. Methods of particle characterization are reviewed and potential applications of the particles in medicine are discussed.
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