The extensive applications of metal nanoparticles in the fields of nanomedicine, electronics, cosmetic and food industries along with other areas have intensified the search for eco friendly pathways for their production. Chemical and physical methods have various limitations in terms of synthesis procedures which may involve use of drastic experimental conditions coupled with release of toxic byproducts, thus damaging the environment. Polydispersity and instability of particles add to the disadvantages. An alternative approach is their production by the process of mycosynthesis, using different species of fungi which act as nanobiofactories, since they produce and secrete enzymes which help in reduction of metal ions to nanoparticles. They are further easy to culture, maintain and due to considerable biomass favor the large scale production of a wide variety of metal nanoparticles including those of silver, gold, iron, cadmium, selenium and platinum. Although the mechanistic pathways are yet to be elucidated due to the complexity of the process, the synthesis procedures have been well standardized and in some cases optimised for maximum production. Particles have also been thoroughly characterized by different advanced instrumental techniques. Subsequently, they have been found to possess monodispersity, stability and other favorable properties which have lead to their wide usage and applications in different industries.
Keywords: Fungi, nanobiofactories, nanoparticles, synthesis mechanisms, characterization.