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ZIF-8 Degrades in Cell Media, Serum, and Some—But Not All—Common Laboratory Buffers

submitted on 17.04.2019, 17:39 and posted on 19.04.2019, 15:15 by Michael A. Luzuriaga, Candace Benjamin, Michael W. Gaertner, Hamilton Lee, Fabian C. Herbert, Snipta Mallick, Jeremiah J. Gassensmith

The emergence of drug delivery using water stable metal-organic frameworks has elicited a lot of interest in their biocompatibility. However, few studies have been conducted on their stability in common buffers, cell media, and blood proteins. For these studies, single crystal ZIF-8 approximately 1 um in diameter were synthesized, incubated with common laboratory buffers, cell media, and serum, and then characterized by PXRD, IR, DLS, and SEM. Time-resolved SEM and PXRD demonstrate that buffers containing phosphate and bicarbonate alter the appearance and composition of ZIF-8. Further, blood proteins in serum dissolve ZIF-8, causing trapped biomolecules to escape. The study presented here suggests that ZIF-8 can undergo dramatic surface chemistry changes that may affect the interpretation of cellular uptake and cargo release data. On the other hand, it provides a rational explanation as to how ZIF-8 neatly dissolves in vivo.


The National Science Foundation (DMR1654405)

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) (RP170752)

The National Institute of Health (NIAID, 1R21AI140462)

The ACS-PRF (57627-DNI10)

The Welch Foundation (AT-1989-20190330)


Email Address of Submitting Author


The University of Texas at Dallas



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing financial interest.