Unlocking the Potential of Magnetotactic Bacteria as Magnetic Hyperthermia Agents

David Gandia, Lucía Gandarias, Irati Rodrigo, Joshua Robles-García, Raja Das, Eneko Garaio, José Ángel García, Manh Huong Phan, Hariharan Srikanth, Iñaki Orue, Javier Alonso, Alicia Muela, M. Luisa Fdez-Gubieda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Magnetotactic bacteria are aquatic microorganisms that internally biomineralize chains of magnetic nanoparticles (called magnetosomes) and use them as a compass. Here it is shown that magnetotactic bacteria of the strain Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense present high potential as magnetic hyperthermia agents for cancer treatment. Their heating efficiency or specific absorption rate is determined using both calorimetric and AC magnetometry methods at different magnetic field amplitudes and frequencies. In addition, the effect of the alignment of the bacteria in the direction of the field during the hyperthermia experiments is also investigated. The experimental results demonstrate that the biological structure of the magnetosome chain of magnetotactic bacteria is perfect to enhance the hyperthermia efficiency. Furthermore, fluorescence and electron microscopy images show that these bacteria can be internalized by human lung carcinoma cells A549, and cytotoxicity studies reveal that they do not affect the viability or growth of the cancer cells. A preliminary in vitro hyperthermia study, working on clinical conditions, reveals that cancer cell proliferation is strongly affected by the hyperthermia treatment, making these bacteria promising candidates for biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1902626
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer therapy
  • cytotoxicity
  • internalization
  • magnetic hyperthermia
  • magnetotactic bacteria


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