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Comparison of the photosensitivity and bacterial toxicity of spherical and tubular fullerenes of variable aggregate size


Nanomaterials such as fullerene C60, carbon nanotubes (CNTs), and other fullerenes show unique electrical, chemical, mechanical, and thermal properties that are not well understood in the context of the environmental behavior of this class of carbon-based materials. In this study, aqueous suspensions of three fullerenes nanoparticles, C60, single-wall (SW) and multi-wall (MW) CNTs were prepared by sonication and tested for reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and inactivation of Vibrio fischeri, a gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium, under ultraviolet (UV)-A irradiation. We show that ROS production and microbial inactivation increases as colloidal aggregates of C60, SWCNT, and MWCNT are fractionated to enrich with smaller aggregates by progressive membrane filtration. As the quantity and influence of these more reactive fractions of the suspension may increase with time and/or as the result of fractionation processes in the laboratory or the environment, experiments evaluating photo-reactivity and toxicity endpoints must take into account the evolution and heterogeneity of nanoparticle aggregates in water.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under NSF Cooperative Agreement EF-0830093, Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or the EPA. This study has not been subjected to EPA review and no official endorsement should be inferred.

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Correspondence to So-Ryong Chae.

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Chae, SR., Therezien, M., Budarz, J.F. et al. Comparison of the photosensitivity and bacterial toxicity of spherical and tubular fullerenes of variable aggregate size. J Nanopart Res 13, 5121 (2011).

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  • Fullerene
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  • Vibrio fischeri
  • Colloidal aggregates
  • Heterogeneity
  • Environmental effects
  • EHS