Can We Make Nanoparticles More Sustainable?

DonOwens

Most of us are familiar with the concept of “side effects.” This is when something that is designed to be helpful ends up having some harm that goes along with it. For patients with cancer, anti-cancer drugs can be life-savers – literally. The benefits of using these drugs are apparent to anyone whose cancer has …

How Natural Organic Matter May Change How Nanoparticles Affect Bacteria

Almost 4 years ago now (wow I’m getting old) I wrote a blog post about the Invisible Remnants of Dead Stuff Hiding in the Water called natural organic matter, or NOM. Well, some colleagues and I recently published a new paper entitled “Natural organic matter concentration impacts the interaction of functionalized diamond nanoparticles with model …

Nanoparticles can stick to bacteria, but does more nanoparticle sticking mean more toxicity?

Have bacteria ever made you sick? If you answer no I’m not going to believe you. When most of us think about bacteria, we’re reminded of how miserable we were the last time we had strep throat or another bacterial illness. Of course there are many other things that can make people sick, but in …

Thus Spake Paracelsus*

doses

The Swiss Renaissance physician, alchemist and founder of toxicology Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus (!) von Hohenheim, better known as Paracelsus (Figure 1), said it well: “All substances are poisons; there is none that is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison and a remedy.” Or more compactly, “the dose makes the poison.” Researchers …

Why do Scientists Care about Bacterial Replication?

Did you know that under the right conditions, bacteria can divide every 20 minutes?1 (That’s how bacteria reproduce – one cell splits into two.) That means that 10 bacterial cells can produce 2,621,440 bacteria after only 6 hours! No wonder you can get sick so quickly after eating food contaminated with bacteria. Figure 1 below …

Adrift in a Sea of Chemicals, Toxicology Throws Us a Line

How do we stay safe in a world full of chemicals? Everywhere we look, we find chemistry – both natural and synthetic – at work in the air we breathe, the ground we stand on, and in the water we drink. Internally, every cell in our body uses chemistry in order to function and communicate. …

Using Gene Expression to Learn About Nanoparticle Toxicity

What happens to cells when they come into contact with nanoparticles? Researchers in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology are trying to answer this question in a lot of different ways. The effect of exposing organisms to nanoparticles is not as simple as life or death. In one recent study1 we explored the molecular changes that …

Charge and Gold Nanoparticle Toxicity

This post is the first in what we hope will be an ongoing series of public-friendly summaries describing research articles that have been published by members of the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. Jared Bozich, a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, was the first author on this paper and was eager to take on …

Dumping Nanoparticles into a Fjord: How to Think About the Potential Environmental Impacts

Nanoparticles and the Environment Series, Part II  (click here for Part I) Let’s dive in to a real-world nanotechnology problem raised by one of our readers: should waste composed of nanoparticles, let’s call it “nanowaste”, be disposed of differently than regular waste? There are many types of nanowaste that we could discuss, but today we’ll …

Nano Contaminants: How Nanoparticles Get Into the Environment

Nanoparticles and the Environment Series, Part I (click here for part II) More than a year ago on this site, I talked to you about how nanoparticles were already all around us, and have been for most of human history. That day, I was hoping to show you that while nanotechnology may sound cool and …