Spotlight June 2023: New catalytic process for recovering important materials from composites in a single process
Previously virtually impossible and a huge problem: fibre-reinforced resin composites (epoxides) were not recyclable, and wind turbine rotor blades, for example, add up to a waste pile of 43 million tons by 2050. Researchers have now taken an important first step in “reprocessing” these composites and catalytically dissolving them so that the carbon fibres and […]Read more
Spotlight May 2023: Dual energy – edible batteries
An Italian research group reports on edible batteries that supply electric current and can be digested as food, thus providing energy a second time. What sounds funny at first has a serious background, because in medicine, power sources are needed that could be transported through the digestive tract and possibly remain in the body unintentionally, […]Read more
Spotlight April 2023: Recycling rare earths – bacteria assist in the circular economy
Rare earths are important components of wind turbines, catalytic converters, fibre optic cables and plasma screens. Since the 17 metals grouped under this term are indispensable for modern technologies, demand and costs are constantly rising. The occurrence of productive mining sites is limited and the production is often costly and environmentally harmful. The advantages of […]Read more
Spotlight March 2023: How can photovoltaics be made safe and sustainable?
Conventional photovoltaic systems often have only low efficiency, i.e. only a fraction of the solar energy is converted into electrical energy and made usable. For this reason, research is being conducted into innovative materials that can significantly increase the energy yield and thus also enable more electrical energy to be generated from renewable sources. However, […]Read more
Spotlight February 2023: New sustainable and promising method to give cotton textiles an antiviral and antibacterial finish
Textiles have been the subject of research into functionalization for many years, especially also to repel bacteria and viruses. Since the development of nanotechnological processes, there have been many attempts to incorporate UV protection with nano-titanium dioxide, or to provide textiles with anti-bacterial properties with nanosilver (see cross-sectional text “Nanoparticles in Textiles”). But nanosilver has […]Read more
Spotlight January 2023: Special issue on Methods and Protocols in Nanotoxicology published
In the first Spotlight of the new year, we present a special issue on methods and protocols in nanotoxicology published in the journal Frontiers in Toxicology. There are still too few harmonized protocols accepted by the scientific community. To improve this situation, project activities are started and special issues of journals like this one are […]Read more
Spotlight December 2022: Fighting tumors with micro robots
When we, the DaNa team as operators of the website nanopartikel.info, write about nanobots, i.e. nanometre-sized machines, we point out that these machines belong to science fiction, may even remain a utopia – i.e. never realisable. On the significantly larger micro-scale, however, small machines are conceivable that could help in the therapy of diseases, e.g. […]Read more
Spotlight November 2022: Photonics in nature and bioinspired designs
Science has always taken nature as a model and imitated it. If you look at the field of photonics, i.e. the use of optical technologies for information processing, transmission or storage, the colorful examples in the animal and plant world are perfect basic drawers for technical applications. While colors in nature are used either for […]Read more
Spotlight October 2022: The titanium dioxide debate – why the current ECHA and EFSA hazard classification should be questioned
Due to various reports and scientific studies, titanium dioxide (TiO2)was also banned in Europe this year (2022) for use as a food additive with the indication that it could possibly be carcinogenic to humans. Although no case of tumour induction in humans has been reported since the use of this material in micro but also […]Read more
Spotlight September: A methodology for the automatic evaluation of data quality and completeness of nanomaterials for risk assessment purposes
This paper describes a method for automatically assessing the quality and completeness of nanosafety data for the purpose of risk assessment. Steps to develop the methodology for assessing data completeness and the methodology for assessing quality are presented. The methodology is tailored to physicochemical and hazard (meta) data, but can also be configured with appropriate […]Read more
Spotlight August 2022: Three-stage model for the formation of micro- and nanoplastic particles.
Plastic pollution is a global problem that will continue to affect humanity for more than 100 years. There is the visible pollution, e.g. plastic debris in the environment, which leads to death for many animals (because they mistakenly think the plastic is food and eat it or because they get caught in the plastic waste). […]Read more
Spotlight July 2022: New definition on nanomaterials published
The European Union has published a new definition for nanomaterials as of June 2022. It is recommended that this be used as a basis for future legislation. The new documents can be found on the EC website. In the new “nanodefinition”, the essential components such as the origin or the size range of the particles […]Read more
Spotlight June 2022: From small to clever – What does the future hold for the safety and sustainability of advanced materials?
The smallest particles in materials research, nanoparticles, have occupied us intensively for more than 20 years to elucidate and further investigate their safety for humans and the environment. Now, however, the development is going from “small = nano” to “clever = advanced”, as discussed in a contribution by international scientists. Thereby, it is a great […]Read more
Spotlight May 2022: Nano-ghosts” – Risk assessment of submicron-sized particles in food biased towards fictional “nano”
The European Commission has issued a ban on the colorant titanium dioxide in food. Titanium dioxide, which provides a nice shine and bright white color, can potentially damage genetic material. We chose a review article from 2022 for the May 2022 Spotlight that addresses the risk assessment of food-grade titanium dioxide (E171) and the resulting […]Read more
Spotlight April 2022: A new risk assessment of nanomaterials in 3D printing is needed
The use of nanomaterials in 3D printing has great potential. Due to the properties of nanoscale materials, many requirements can be implemented in 3D printing. However, these unique properties based on the size of the particles also lead to the need for new risk assessments. This is because if the nanoparticles are released in the […]Read more
Spotlight March 2022: Safe Materials from Scratch – Safe-by-Design-Concept in action
In recent decades, German research on nanomaterials and new, innovative materials has been widely expanded by material safety aspects. European initiatives also pay significant attention to this: both the European Union (EU) Green Deal, and the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) aim to create a sustainable, climate-neutral economy with sustainable and safe chemicals and products, […]Read more
Spotlight February 2022: Probabilistic risk assessment – the keystone for the future of toxicology
The basics of toxicology are constantly being reconsidered, and the approach to risk assessment is therefore constantly being put to the test, because, as William Osler is cited in this publication, “Medicine (toxicology) is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability“. In this recent paper, the team around Thomas Hartung (Johns-Hopkins University/University of […]Read more
Spotlight January 2022: Methods, models, mechanisms and metadata
For the new year, we are presenting no “classic” paper here, but would like to point out an editorial: Methods, Models, Mechanisms and Metadata: Introduction to the Nanotoxicology Collection at F1000 Research. This editorial introduces the F1000Research Nanotoxicology Collection, where best practices can be collected in the form of original research reports, including no-effect studies, […]Read more
Spotlight December 2021: Silica nanoparticles improve plant disease resistance
The resistance of plants to various pathogens is often increased in agriculture with various chemicals (“fertilizers”). A new direction is being taken with the use of nanoparticles. These can be sprayed on the plants. In the present study, the model plant Arabidopsis was used to investigate whether silicon dioxide nanoparticles (SiO2) can increase resistance to […]Read more
Spotlight November 2021: Safe Materials from Scratch – Safe-by-Design in Materials Research
Advances in the field of materials science continue to amaze us with nanoscale materials with extraordinary chemical, electrical, optical, and numerous other properties. However, some nanoscale materials have different toxicological profiles compared to the same bulk material. Since safety issues are usually addressed just before launching a product into the market, safety issues may be […]Read more
Spotlight October 2021: Nanopesticides – a proposal for a risk assessment framework
The application of so-called “nanopesticides” (see also cross-sectional text Nanomaterials in plant protection products) is said to have two basic advantages: a smaller amount of pesticide is needed for the same agricultural area and the efficacy is improved. This is necessary to grow enough food for a still growing world population. However, this could also […]Read more
Spotlight September 2021: Wood, the raw material of the future?
One of the greatest challenges facing humanity is to produce clean drinking water under the given circumstances of global warming, population growth and increasing littering. In September, we would like to present a review article that believes one approach to solve this problem is the use of nanoscale wood. In the review, “Advanced Nanowood Materials […]Read more
Spotlight August 2021: Towards FAIR nanosafety data
In August we would like to present a paper on FAIR data. The paper published in Nature Nanotechnology in June 2021 summarises the challenges and provides recommendations for the efficient reuse of nanosafety data in line with the recently established FAIR guiding principles: findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. This article summarises the know-how on the […]Read more
Spotlight July 2021: The Path to Digital Material Research – It is never too late to start
Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data…. Have you read these words lately? No, these are not just buzzwords. The digitalisation of science is an evolving topic that is gaining importance with each passing day. That is why this month we would like to introduce you to the article “Digital Transformation in Materials Science: A Paradigm […]Read more
Spotlight June 2021: Endotoxin – the reason for false-positive toxicity testing for advanced materials?
Advanced materials, but also nanomaterials are closely examined to determine whether they trigger biological effects that could be harmful to humans and the environment before they are used in products. This also includes such materials as titanium dioxide, which has been used in a wide variety of products for more than 50 years. A particularly […]Read more
Spotlight May 2021: Towards safe and sustainable innovation in nanotechnology: State-of-play for smart nanomaterials
The European Commission’s new Action Plan for a Circular Economy Green Deal, the new European Industrial Strategy as well as the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability presented in October 2020 are ambitious plans to achieve a sustainable, fair and inclusive economy in the European Union. These strategies require that any new material or product must not […]Read more
Spotlight April 2021: Nanomaterials and Fake News – a commentary based on an example
In February 2021, the article “The invisible killer lurking in our consumer products” appeared, describing nanoparticles as a greater danger than Corona . “The use of nanomaterials” would be “unregulated” and “nanomaterials are so small that they cannot be determined once they are part of a product”. So what is the truth of these statements? […]Read more
Spotlight March 2021: Is Nanotechnology the Swiss Army Knife against Future Pandemics?
The COVID 19 outbreak has led to a fundamental rethinking of existing approaches to diagnosis, treatment, and prevention methods. The need for better and more efficient concepts is global and urgent. Nanotechnology has long been at the forefront of innovation and has led to advances in many different disciplines. Could this interdisciplinary field help develop […]Read more
Spotlight February 2021: Nanoobjects in the COVID-vaccine – scientifically correct?
The COVID-19 pandemic induces very different reactions of people on the internet (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7002e1.htm) and in the social networks. Without following the conspiracy theories as “5G nanochip hidden in COVID vaccines” some news as “COVID vaccines induce allergic reactions” should be scientifically recognised. The picture from the 5G-nanochip whose plan goes viral on the internet is […]Read more
Spotlight January 2021: Nanoplastics challenge – How to improve tracking of nanopolystyrene distribution in the environment.
In January, we present a paper published in the Nature Journal communications materials. The article focuses on the development of a new detection method of nanopolystyrene. The method not only makes it possible to detect nanoplastics in the environment for the first time, but also to determine their accumulation in plants and animals. Nanoplastics, which […]Read more
Spotlight December 2020: Rethinking Nanosafety – Part II
In December we would like to draw attention to the special issue: Rethinking Nanosafety – Part II in small. In the July Spotlight we already presented Part I. This special issue “Rethinking Nanosafety – Part II” also features research papers by renowned scientists in the field of nanosafety research. The first part of this special […]Read more
Spotlight November 2020: Nanotechnology in the public perception
In November, we would like to draw your attention to a publication that examines public perception of the safety of nanomaterials in Austria.It shows, that although there is generally a rather positive attitude towards nanomaterials, there are different opinions on safety issues from different social groups. Further clarification seems necessary. Despite the widespread use of […]Read more
Spotlight October 2020: Nanosafety – Topic of the Future
Research on nanosafety is a driver of innovation as the spotlight in July has demonstrated. But furthermore, this research field is built on routine as well if researchers look for the “needle in the haystack”. In many areas the safety research initiates the development of new methods, e.g. for the determination of nanoparticles within exposed organisms via […]Read more
Spotlight September 2020: Groundwater remediation with Carbo-Iron® – Risk or Benefit?
In September we would like to present a paper of the BMBF project Fe-Nanosit. The project dealt with the use of iron-containing nanomaterials in groundwater and wastewater remediation. A comprehensive assessment and weighing of benefits and possible environmental risks resulting from the application is now presented by the project partners in this paper. Groundwater is indispensable for the […]Read more
Spotlight August 2020: The nanoGRAVUR Grouping approach
In August, we would like to present a paper of the German BMBF project nanoGRAVUR. nanoGRAVUR dealt from 2015-2018 with the grouping of nanostructured materials with regard to occupational safety, consumer and environmental protection and risk mitigation. The approach is now described by the project partners in this paper.Due to the variety of synthetic nanomaterials and the numerous modifications (differences in size, shape, chemical composition and surface functionalization), the effort required to investigate effects and behaviour within the framework of regulatory requirements is…Read more
Spotlight Juli 2020: “Nanosafety – More than just regulatory processes”
Nanosafety is more than just a compulsory aspect of nanomaterials research and regulation. This research area also has great potential to drive new innovations. It is exactly this perspective that is addressed in the special issue “Rethinking Nanosafety: Harnessing Progress and Driving Innovation” by Chen et al. 2020. The article illustrates that especially in the field of […]Read more