A comparison of dispersing media for various engineered carbon nanoparticles

Mary C. Buford, Raymond F. Hamilton, Andrij Holian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Background: With the increased manufacture and use of carbon nanoparticles (CNP) there has been increasing concern about the potential toxicity of fugitive CNP in the workplace and ambient environment. To address this matter a number of investigators have conducted in vitro and in vivo toxicity assessments. However, a variety of different approaches for suspension of these particles (culture media, Tween 80, dimethyl sulfoxide, phosphate-buffered saline, fetal calf serum, and others), and different sources of materials have generated potentially conflicting outcomes. The quality of the dispersion of nanoparticles is very dependent on the medium used to suspend them, and this then will most likely affect the biological outcomes. Results: In this work, the distributions of different CNP (sources and types) have been characterized in various media. Furthermore, the outcome of instilling the different agglomerates, or size distributions, was examined in mouse lungs after one and seven days. Our results demonstrated that CNP suspended in serum produced particle suspensions with the fewest large agglomerates, and the most uniform distribution in mouse lungs. In addition, no apparent clearance of instilled CNP took place from lungs even after seven days. Conclusion: This work demonstrates that CNP agglomerates are present in all dispersing vehicles to some degree. The vehicle that contains some protein, lipid or protein/lipid component disperses the CNP best, producing fewer large CNP agglomerates. In contrast, vehicles absent of lipid and protein produce the largest CNP agglomerates. The source of the CNP is also a factor in the degree of particle agglomeration within the same vehicle.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalParticle and Fibre Toxicology
StatePublished - Jul 27 2007


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