Biocompatibility characterization of vaterite with a bacterial whole-cell biosensor

Dorin Harpaz, Hani Barhom, Boris Veltman, Pavel Ginzburg*, Evgeni Eltzov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The growing biomedical challenges impose the continuous development of novel platforms. Ensuring the biocompatibility of drug delivery and implantable biomedical devices is an essential requirement. Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the form of vaterite nanoparticles is a promising platform, which has demonstrated distinctive optical and biochemical properties, including high porosity and metastability. In this study, the biocompatibility of differently shaped CaCO3 vaterite particles (toroids, ellipsoids, and spheroids) are evaluated by bacterial toxicity mode-of-action with a whole-cell biosensor. Different Escherichia coli (E. coli) strains were used in the bioluminescent assay, including cytotoxicity, genotoxicity and quorum-sensing. Firstly, both scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and fluorescence microscopy characterizations were conducted. Bacterial cell death and aggregates were observed only in the highest tested concentration of the vaterite particles, especially in toroids 15–25 µm. After, the bioluminescent bacterial panel was exposed to the vaterite particles, and their bioluminescent signal reflected their toxicity mode-of-action. The vaterite particles resulted in an induction factor (IF > 1) on the bacterial panel, which was higher after exposure to the toroids (1.557 ≤ IF ≤ 2.271) and ellipsoids particles (1.712 ≤ IF ≤ 2.018), as compared to the spheroids particles (1.134 ≤ IF ≤ 1.494), in all the tested bacterial strains. Furthermore, the vaterite particles did not affect the viability of the bacterial cells. The bacterial monitoring demonstrated the biofriendly nature of especially spheroids vaterite nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113104
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Bioluminescence bioreporter bacteria
  • Calcium carbonate (CaCO)
  • Genotoxicity cytotoxicity quorum-sensing stress
  • Toxicity mode-of-action
  • Vaterite biocompatibility
  • Whole-cell biosensor


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