Navigation Links
Pitt researchers create nontoxic clean-up method for potentially toxic nano materials
Date:12/17/2008

PITTSBURGHUniversity of Pittsburgh researchers have developed the first natural, nontoxic method for biodegrading carbon nanotubes, a finding that could help diminish the environmental and health concerns that mar the otherwise bright prospects of the super-strong materials commonly used in products, from electronics to plastics.

A Pitt research team has found that carbon nanotubes deteriorate when exposed to the natural enzyme horseradish peroxidase (HRP), according to a report published recently in Nano Letters coauthored by Alexander Star, an assistant professor of chemistry in Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences, and Valerian Kagan, a professor and vice chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health in Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health. These results open the door to further development of safe and natural methodswith HRP or other enzymesof cleaning up carbon nanotube spills in the environment and the industrial or laboratory setting.

Carbon nanotubes are one-atom thick rolls of graphite 100,000 times smaller than a human hair yet stronger than steel and excellent conductors of electricity and heat. They reinforce plastics, ceramics, or concrete; conduct electricity in electronics or energy-conversion devices; and are sensitive chemical sensors, Star said. (Star created an early-detection device for asthma attacks wherein carbon nanotubes detect minute amounts of nitric oxide preceding an attack.)

"The many applications of nanotubes have resulted in greater production of them, but their toxicity remains controversial," Star said. "Accidental spills of nanotubes are inevitable during their production, and the massive use of nanotube-based materials could lead to increased environmental pollution. We have demonstrated a nontoxic approach to successfully degrade carbon nanotubes in environmentally relevant conditions."

The team's work focused on nanotubes in their raw form as a fine, graphite-like powder, Kagan explained. In this form, nanotubes have caused severe lung inflammation in lab tests. Although small, nanotubes contain thousands of atoms on their surface that could react with the human body in unknown ways, Kagan said. Both he and Star are associated with a three-year-old Pitt initiative to investigate nanotoxicology.

"Nanomaterials aren't completely understood. Industries use nanotubes because they're uniquethey are strong, they can be used as semiconductors. But do these features present unknown health risks? The field of nanotoxicology is developing to find out," Kagan said. "Studies have shown that they can be dangerous. We wanted to develop a method for safely neutralizing these very small materials should they contaminate the natural or working environment."

To break down the nanotubes, the team exposed them to a solution of HRP and a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide at 4 degrees Celcius (39 degrees Fahrenheit) for 12 weeks. Once fully developed, this method could be administered as easily as chemical clean-ups in today's labs, Kagan and Star said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Morgan Kelly
mekelly@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. USC researchers print dense lattice of transparent nanotube transistors on flexible base
2. J. Craig Venter Institute Researchers Publish Significant Advance in Genome Assembly Technology
3. Virginia Tech researchers discover how mosquitoes avoid succumbing to viruses they transmit
4. Alfred Mann Foundation for Biomedical Engineering Launches New Web Site Designed to Help University Researchers Bring Biomedical Advances to Market
5. 2010 Japan Prize to Honor Scientists and Researchers in Industrial Production/Production Technology and Biological Production/Environment Fields
6. Clemson researchers advance nanoscale electromechanical sensors
7. Researchers discover method for mass production of nanomaterial graphene
8. VAP(R) Cholesterol Test Helps Researchers Identify Treatment Effects of Combination Therapy
9. Ultrafast lasers give CU-Boulder researchers a snapshot of electrons in action
10. The Lancets New Online Medical Journal Helps Clinicians and Medical Researchers Find Practice-Changing Evidence Quickly and Easily
11. Researchers show how to stamp nanodevices with rubber molds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/17/2017)... DIEGO , Jan. 17, 2017  An ... School of Medicine and St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen ... for peripheral neuropathy, an unmet health need affecting ... the Journal of Clinical Investigation, their results identify ... that prevent and reverse neuronal injury in animal ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... 2017  Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ... sales and earnings conference call will be broadcast live ... 8 a.m. Eastern Time.  A news release detailing the ... 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time the morning of the conference ... accessed via Zimmer Biomet,s Investor Relations website at ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... NEW YORK , Jan. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... mobile health coaching, is the first to offer ... and obesity. Noom,s Spanish diabetes prevention ... expand the reach and accessibility of lifestyle interventions ... of developing these conditions. Noom,s robust food database, ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... -- Only nine percent of U.S. consumers believe pharmaceutical and ... percent believe health insurance companies do, according to a ... U.S. adults believe health care providers (such as doctors ... (23%). "We are in the midst of ... vice president of reputation management and public affairs at ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:12/16/2016)... Dec 16, 2016 Research and Markets has ... - Global Forecast to 2021" report to their offering. ... The biometric vehicle ... at a CAGR of 14.06% from 2016 to 2021. The market ... projected to reach 854.8 Million by 2021. The growth of the ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... Germany , December 15, 2016 ... provider, today announced an agreement with NuData Security, an ... forces. The partnership will enable clients to focus on good ... local data protection regulation. ... In order to provide a one-stop fraud ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... 2016 ... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... The report forecasts the global military biometrics market to grow at ... report has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs ... prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):