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More cautions on nanoparticles

  September 29, 2008
A pair of studies show that we have a lot to learn about how nanoparticles affect people, animals and the environment.

One study shows that proteins and other biological molecules accumulate on drug delivery nanoparticles based on size and electrical charge as well as what the particles are made of. The proteins can interfere with the nanoparticles and have other health consequences. The results call for more studies and careful regulation.

The other study shows that buckyballs -- spherical molecules made of 60 carbon atoms -- are likely to accumulate in human and animal tissue. Buckyballs have a wide range of potential applications, including in consumer products, which means they could end up in people and the environment. On a positive note, the study shows that buckyballs also break down in light.

Research papers:
Nanoparticle Size and Surface Properties Determine the Protein Corona with Possible Implications for Biological Impacts
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 23, 2008
Buckminsterfullerene’s (C60) Octanol-Water Partition Coefficient (Kow) and Aqueous Solubility
Environmental Science and Technology, August 15, 2008

Researchers' homepages:
Centre for BioNano Interactions
Chad Jafvert

Related stories and briefs:
Study Urges Nano Safety Rules -- related study
Nanotube-cancer concern -- related study
Dirty nanotech -- related study

Further info:
Nanotech surge -- study of the growing use of nanotechnology in consumer products

Back to TRN September 29/October 6, 2008

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