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NIST study suggests carbon nanotubes may protect DNA from oxidation
Date:11/15/2012

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have provided evidence in the laboratory that single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) may help protect DNA molecules from damage by oxidation. In nature, oxidation is a common chemical process in which a reactive chemical removes electrons from DNA and may increase the chance for mutations in cells. More studies are needed to see if the in vitro protective effect of nanotubes reported in the laboratory also occurs in vivo, that is, within a living organism.

"Our findings don't tell us whether carbon nanotubes are good or bad for people and the environment," says Elijah Petersen, one of the authors of the study. "However, the results do help us better understand the mechanisms by which nanotubes might interact with biomolecules."

Single-wall carbon nanotubestiny hollow rods that are one-atom-thick sheets of graphene rolled into cylinders 10,000 times smaller in diameter than a human hairare prized for their extraordinary optical, mechanical, thermal and electronic properties. They are being used to produce lightweight and extremely strong materials, enhance the capabilities of devices such as sensors, and provide a novel means of delivering drugs with great specificity. However, as carbon nanotubes become increasingly incorporated into consumer and medical products, the public concern about their potential environmental, health and safety (EHS) risks has grown. Scientifically determining the level of risk associated with the carbon nanotubes has been challenging, with different studies showing conflicting results on cellular toxicity. One of the components lacking in these studies is an understanding of what physically happens at the molecular level.

In a recent paper,* NIST researchers investigated the impact of ultrasonication on a solution of DNA fragments known as oligomers in the presence and absence of carbon nanotubes. Ultrasonication is a standard laboratory
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Contact: Michael E. Newman
michael.newman@nist.gov
301-975-3025
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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NIST study suggests carbon nanotubes may protect DNA from oxidation
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