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Posted: Jun 18, 2012
Gaiker-IK4 studies in vitro toxicity of carbon nanofibres
(Nanowerk News) Nanoparticles, and in the case in hand, carbon nanofibres, have new electric, mechanical and chemical properties that can enhance the performances of the materials into which they are incorporated. Likewise, these nanofibres have very different effects on these same materials depending on whether they are macro or conventional sizes, being able to show a number of toxicological characteristics that could give rise to risk to human health.
Given its novelty, there are not many scientific studies on the possible risks to health arising from the use of nanoparticles, the reason why, in 2010, Grupo Antolin (the Antolin Group) launched an R+D+i project with GAIKER-IK4 Technological Centre, with which the Group has been collaborating for a decade.
Global provider of components for automobile interiors, Grupo Antolin wanted to analyse the toxicity of the carbon nanofibres employed for enhancing the properties of their materials in their manufacturing processes (electrical conductivity, behaviour in case of fire, and so on). The recently concluded research focused on three fundamental aspects:
Corrosion and dermal irritation, evaluated by means of an in vitro model of the reconstituted epidermis.
Ocular irritation, by means of an in vitro analysis of two parameters in human blood samples.
And the possible mutagenic effect of the compound in the organism evaluated through the Ames Test. This standardised test evaluates the behaviour of different strains of the Salmonella bacteria to being exposed to the substance (in this case, the Carbon Nanofibres of the Grupo Antolin) and enables determining its degree of mutagenicity.
All the results thrown up within the framework of the research have been negative, so it can be concluded that the use of carbon nanofibres by the Grupo Antolin is not toxic for health at a dermal or ocular level, nor does it induce mutations under test conditions. Pending are the corresponding in vivo tests to corroborate the results obtained in vitro. In the near future, the Grupo Antolín proposes extending the research, analysing toxicity by inhalation (through respiration) of carbon nanofibres with the aim of providing maximum guarantees of safety.