Document Type


Version Deposited

Published Version

Publication Date


Publication Title

International Journal of Molecular Sciences




Nanoparticles are particles that range in size from about 1–1000 nanometers in diameter, about one thousand times smaller than the average cell in a human body. Their small size, flexible fabrication, and high surface-area-to-volume ratio make them ideal systems for drug delivery. Nanoparticles can be made from a variety of materials including metals, polysaccharides, and proteins. Biological protein-based nanoparticles such as silk, keratin, collagen, elastin, corn zein, and soy protein-based nanoparticles are advantageous in having biodegradability, bioavailability, and relatively low cost. Many protein nanoparticles are easy to process and can be modified to achieve desired specifications such as size, morphology, and weight. Protein nanoparticles are used in a variety of settings and are replacing many materials that are not biocompatible and have a negative impact on the environment. Here we attempt to review the literature pertaining to protein-based nanoparticles with a focus on their application in drug delivery and biomedical fields. Additional detail on governing nanoparticle parameters, specific protein nanoparticle applications, and fabrication methods are also provided.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.