NCCLCs: Life Cycle of Nanomaterials (LCnano)
We hypothesize that the desirable physicochemical properties that create unique NM functionality can also influence inherent hazards and potential exposure routes. LCnano’s overarching goal is to elucidate NM property-exposure and property-hazard relationships from a life cycle perspective and to provide predictive models for unintended implications of NMs that will improve design of safe nano-enabled products and processes. To inform risk managers, LCnano will employ high throughput functional assays to quantify material attributes that serve as proxies for short- and long-term risk (material exposure, hazard, reactivity, and distribution). To inform designers of nano-enabled products about balances between performance and risk, LCnano will evaluate nano-enabled products for facilitating direct and translational methods in the development of material property-exposure and property-hazard relationships for identifying and subsequently minimizing risk for a wide array of existing products, helping ensure sustainable design of future, transformative nano-enabled products.
The evaluations in LCnano are expected to (i) reduce uncertainty in risks from nano-enabled products for the public, manufacturing communities, and regulatory agencies, (ii) provide the framework for existing and future nano-enabled product designs that preserve commercial value while minimizing adverse environmental health and safety effects, (iii) train a diverse group of undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral scientists to work as a network and produce integrated research products, and (iv) educate the public on the importance of the life cycle perspective for maximizing the benefits of nano-enabled products.
Some research results from prior work
Nanoparticles shedding naturally from bulk Silver
Jim Hutchison's lab (UO) developed a novel strategy to monitor nanomaterials and their transformations under a variety of environmental conditions. During this study, they discovered that silver and copper nanoparticles are generated spontaneously from manmade objects. This implies that humans have long been in direct contact with these nanomaterials and that macroscale objects represent a potential source of incidental nanoparticles in the environment. Their results are published in ACS Nano - Richard D. Glover, John M. Miller, and James E. Hutchison. Generation of Metal Nanoparticles from Silver and Copper Objects: Nanoparticle Dynamics on Surfaces and Potential Sources of Nanoparticles in the Environment. ACS Nano, 2011, 5 (11), pp 89508957
High-Content screening approach for bio-impacts studies
Robert Tanguay's Lab (OSU) developed a high-content screening method to evaluate in vivo biological responses to nanomaterials.
Their screening approach has helped to define biological activity and toxic potential of nanomaterials, while using small amounts of highly-pure functionalized nanoparticles. They have streamlined the evaluation of toxicity from 6-120 hours post-fertilization to assess 16 animals at four different nanomaterial concentrations, with two sets of controls. Working with engineers, they developed a semi-automated device to dechorionate embryos in mass (up to 5000 in 30 minutes) and an automated embryo handle to deposit dechorionated embryos into a 96-well plate within 8 minutes with less than a 5% error rate.