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Mechanistic insights into nanotoxicity determined by synchrotron radiation-based Fourier-transform infrared imaging and multivariate analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date1/12/2012
JournalEnvironment International
Number of pages10
Original languageEnglish


Our ability to identify the mechanisms by which carbon-based nanomaterials (CBNs) exert toxicity in cells is constrained by the lack of standardized methodologies to assay endpoint effects. Herein we describe a method of mechanistically identifying the effects of various CBN types in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells using multi-beam synchrotron radiation-based Fourier-transform infrared imaging (SR-FTIRI) at diffraction-limited resolution. This technique overcomes many of the inherent difficulties of assaying nanotoxicity and demonstrates exceptional sensitivity in identifying the effects of CBNs in cells at environmentally-relevant concentrations. We identify key mechanisms of nanotoxicity as the alteration of Amide and lipid biomolecules, but propose more specific bioactivity of CBNs occurs as a result of specific interactions between CBN structural conformation and cellular characteristics.