Feb 22, 2015

This week in Nano: Week 8 (Feb 16th - Feb 22th)

Articles about Silver Nano always make the headlines in particular when it claims to cure a multitude of diseases from Ebola to worms!  The FDA has warnedcompanies and foundations (such as the Natural Solution Foundation) in the past about medical claims on commercial colloidal silver.  In the meantime the research rages on. The latest research from the Max Planck Institute in Germany published in the Journal of Bioonanotechnology is the study: ‘Carbohydratefunctionalization of silver nanoparticles modulates cytotoxicity and cellularuptake’  Oxidative stress and toxicity was investigated in cultures of liver cells and tumour cells from the nervous system of mice using NP functionalised with 3 different monosaccharides. They observed that it is only when silver nanoparticles enter inside the cells that they produce serious harm, and that their toxicity is basically due to the oxidative stress they create.  They find that carbohydrate coating on silver NP modulates both oxidative stress and cellular uptake- for example the toxicity of the Ag-NP were discovered to be greater when covered with glucose instead of galactose or mannose.

Nanodrones nonot these ones on kickstarter that can take a selfie or dronie of you but a biological ‘nanodrones’ have been researched for their ability to stop strokes! These ‘nanodrones’ are a type of FDA approved NP polymer loaded with anti-inflammatory peptides.They can be injected into the bloodstream where they find their way to the arterial plaque. It is also the first example of using targeted nanomedicine to reduce atherosclerosis in animals and could someday e used to treat those at high ricsk of stroke and heart attack. 

The EU project PlasCarb was highlighted this week in The Guardians much tweeted and blogged about article - ‘Turing our mountains of food waste into graphene’ . PlasCarbs work/researches approaches to transform biogas generated by anaerobic digestion of food waste into high value graphitic carbon and renewable hydrogen. 

This is a marine snail - Patella Vulgata (taken from http://news.sciencemag.org). This snail’s teeth were the subject of an article in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. The teeth are made of a mixture of goethite nanofibers encased in a protein matrix giving this material tensile strength that is the highest recorded for a biological material. Micro images of the tooth can be seen in the article link above.

Feb 15, 2015

This week in Nano: Week 7(Feb 9th-Feb 15th)

An overview of a very specific application of nanomaterials was recently highlighted by a nice article in Nanowerk: ‘Nanotechnology andnanomaterials for camouflage and stealth applications’ This article  highlights nanomaterials as one of the emerging materials suitable for 'multi-spectral camouflage/stealth applications owing to their response to electromagnetic radiation of different energies'. They also highlight that the stealth coating technology mimics the active camouflage used by the squid. 


More applications of nanomaterials: A paper was published by PetroleumScience and Technology recently investigating the application of nanomaterials to boost oil extraction. The paper describes the use of fumed silica (AEROSIL® 200) to prevent adsorption of surfactant on reservoir rocks during oil extraction. Surfactant is injected into site during oil extraction to change properties of the reservoir rock and fluid and thus making extraction easier. Adsorption of the surfactant on the surface of reservoir rock is a problem during oil extraction. This paper investigates this issue examining the use of Aerosil 200 prevent the adsorption of surfactant on the reservoir rock.  The article is pay walled so can’t see if it was nano silica or what exactly the material was but the news article can be found here.

To end this weeks nano reading the nanotox paper (published Jan 2015) Toxicity of particulate matter from incineration of nanowaste (open access) is worth highlighting.  The paper exams oxidative potential (as measured by reactive oxygen species consumption of ascorbic acid, dithiothreitol, glutathione, or uric acid antioxidants) and toxicity (as measured by cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of PM to A549 human lung epithelial cells) of PM resulting from the incineration of pure nanomaterials and of paper and plastic wastes containing Ag, NiO, TiO2, ceria, C60, Fe2O3, or CdSe/ZnS quantum dots (CdSe QD). The results reported that in most cases ( see paper)  the presence of nanomaterials in the waste did not significantly affect the oxidation potential of the PM and did not significantly modify the cytotoxicity or genotoxicity of the PM.

Feb 8, 2015

This week in Nano: Week 6 (Feb 2nd-Feb 8th)

Researchers reported in Nature Communications this week that they have educated the three-dimensional shape and orientation of individual nanoparticles using X-ray free-electron lasers (located at the national research center in Germany). These types of advances in NM characterisation methods could lead to allowing direct observation of changes in NP structure. Read more here.

NanoSafePack: 'Safe Handling and Use of Nanoparticles in Packaging'- a project (funded under the EU’s FP7) which aims to develop a best practices guide for the safe handling and use of nanomaterials  have released a 'Best Practice Guide for the Safe Handling and Use of Nanoparticles in Packaging Industries'. This guide is intended to support those working with nanomaterials. The ‘NanoSafePack can be downloaded here. The data comes from a complete hazard and exposure assessment conducted on NM in conjunction with polymer matrices (nanocomposites).

GoogleX (the life science department of Google) have developed a fake skin as part of it's ongoing work with nanomaterials: