Spotlight Research

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Spotlight June 2022: From small to clever – What does the future hold for the safety and sustainability of advanced materials?

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 […]

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Spotlight May 2022: Nano-ghosts” – Risk assessment of submicron-sized particles in food biased towards fictional “nano”

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 […]

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Spotlight April 2022: A new risk assessment of nanomaterials in 3D printing is needed

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 […]

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Spotlight March 2022: Safe Materials from Scratch – Safe-by-Design-Concept in action

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, […]

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Spotlight February 2022: Probabilistic risk assessment – the keystone for the future of toxicology

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 […]

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Spotlight January 2022: Methods, models, mechanisms and metadata

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, […]

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Spotlight December 2021: Silica nanoparticles improve plant disease resistance

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 […]

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Spotlight November 2021: Safe Materials from Scratch – Safe-by-Design in Materials Research

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 […]

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Spotlight October 2021: Nanopesticides – a proposal for a risk assessment framework

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 […]

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Spotlight September 2021: Wood, the raw material of the future?

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 […]

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Spotlight August 2021: Towards FAIR nanosafety data

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 […]

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Spotlight July 2021: The Path to Digital Material Research – It is never too late to start

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 […]

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Spotlight June 2021: Endotoxin – the reason for false-positive toxicity testing for advanced materials? 

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 […]

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Spotlight May 2021: Towards safe and sustainable innovation in nanotechnology: State-of-play for smart nanomaterials

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 […]

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Spotlight April 2021: Nanomaterials and Fake News – a commentary based on an example

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 [1]. “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? […]

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Spotlight March 2021: Is Nanotechnology the Swiss Army Knife against Future Pandemics?

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 […]

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Spotlight February 2021: Nanoobjects in the COVID-vaccine – scientifically correct?

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 […]

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Spotlight January 2021: Nanoplastics challenge – How to improve tracking of nanopolystyrene distribution in the environment.

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 […]

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Spotlight December 2020: Rethinking Nanosafety – Part II

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 […]

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Spotlight November 2020: Nanotechnology in the public perception

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 […]

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Spotlight October 2020: Nanosafety – Topic of the Future

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 […]

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Spotlight September 2020: Groundwater remediation with Carbo-Iron® – Risk or Benefit?

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 […]

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Spotlight August 2020: The nanoGRAVUR Grouping approach

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…

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Spotlight Juli 2020: “Nanosafety – More than just regulatory processes”

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 […]

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