Wrapping of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) with a biocompatible matrix, to gain AuNP colloids, is a general strategy to synthesize the AuNPs for biomedical purposes. This work reports the synthesis of AuNP colloids in the aqueous solution of several natural matrices using a liquid-phase plasma process. Two classes of natural substances used are sugars (including: glucose, fructose, and sucrose) and biopolymers (including: carboxymethyl cellulose, sodium alginate, and gelatin). All are negatively charged water-soluble substances that are claimed to be sources of energy for cells to grow and have a high potential to be compatible with them. The study has emerged since one question arises: "Do these matrices also promote the growth of cancer cells?" The synthesis is performed by generating plasma across a pair of electrodes immersed in an aqueous solution of a natural matrix containing a gold precursor (HAuCl4·3H2O). Two concentrations of the matrices (0.5 and 1.0% w/v) are used, and the plasma treatment times are varied (0, 10, and 30 min). The effect of the type and concentration of natural matrices as well as the plasma treatment time on the formation of AuNPs, along with their physical and chemical properties, including morphology, size, hydrodynamic diameter (dh), colloidal stability, and charge on the AuNP surface, is evaluated. We find that the charge of the AuNP surfaces could be altered by the plasma treatment. Eventually, cytotoxicity test results against normal (MRC-5) and cancer (H460 and HeLa) cell lines could not only answer our opening question but also suggest a rather complex response. Our findings indicate the great potential of the obtained AuNP colloids as a part of cancer therapy.
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