When two words colloid: “copied and manipulated” figures prompt retraction of nanoparticle paper
The journal Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces has retracted a 2011 paper by a group of researchers in India who misappropriated — and then manhandled — a pair of images from a previously published article by other scientists.
The paper, “Synthesis and characterization of chitosan and grape polyphenols stabilized palladium nanoparticles and their antibacterial activity,” was written by authors from various institutions in Tamil Nadu, and appeared online in December 2011 and in print the following April. It has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
Here’s the abstract:
Based on enhanced effectiveness, the new age drugs are nanoparticles of polymers, metals or ceramics, which can combat conditions like cancer and fight human pathogens like bacteria. In this present study we aimed for a green approach to synthesize palladium nanoparticles by reducing palladium chloride salts with nontoxic and biodegradable polymeric chitosan and grape polyphenols and confirmed by FTIR, TEM, SEM and UV-spectroscopy. We also extended our study to show the efficacy of the grape and chitosan impregnated palladium nanoparticles as an antibacterial agent against Escherichia coli. Antibacterial assays were carried out with a representative gram-negative bacterium, E. coli and a gram-positive bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus. Commendable efforts have been made to explore this property using electron microscopy, which has revealed size dependent interaction of palladium nanoparticles conjugates with bacteria by disrupting cell membranes and the leakage of cytoplasm. Therefore, the observed results imply that grape and chitosan-based nano palladium conjugates prepared in our present system are promising candidates for a wide range of biomedical and general applications.
According to the retraction notice:
This article has been retracted at the request of the Editors.
The authors have copied and manipulated Figures 5 and 6 of the article “Antibacterial activity and mechanism of silver nanoparticles on Escherichia coli” (Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 85 (2010) 1115–1122) (http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00253-009-2159-5) without permission.
We’re wondering if the abused figures might describe the “commendable efforts” at electron microscopy …