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Understanding the biological and ecological implications of safe nanotechnology
Date:8/6/2012

Nanoscale science and technology has seen exciting advances recently in drug delivery, electronics, energy and environmental applications. According to international scientific conventions, nanomaterials are those whose at least one dimension is less than or equal to 10-9 m. At the same time, there is a great possibility for nanomaterials to enter ecosystems at the points of use or disposal, which could lead to negative environmental implications.

Our recent paper, "Dendrimer-fullerenol soft-condensed nanoassembly" published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, showed how the soft nanomaterial dendrimer can be used to remediate the environment from potentially toxic nanomaterials. Here, we used fullerenol a 60 carbon molecule in the shape of a buckyball and functionalized with hydroxyl groups as a model system. Such an assembly also has implications for drug delivery.

We found that the assemblies of dendrimers and fullerenols were strong, spontaneous, and thermodynamically favorable at neutral water pH and ambient temperature and pressure.

Dendrimers are highly branched, polymeric macromolecules with a high degree of surface functionalities. Their branching determines their generation number (G) the higher the generation, the greater the degree of surface functionalities. We used both G1 and G4 poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers and found that both these dendrimers hosted one fullerenol per primary amine on the dendrimer surfaces. However, G4 PAMAM dendrimers hosted fullerenols 40 times better than G1, simply because of their higher degree of surface functionalities. Based on our findings, we recommended proper loading capacities of fullerenols for G1 and G4 dendrimers in drug delivery and environmental remediation.

With the advent of new technologies, the public often becomes skeptical of their implications on the environment. In our group, we strive to understand the biological and ecological implications
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Contact: Brian Mullen
mullen2@clemson.edu
864-656-2063
Clemson University
Source:Eurekalert  

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