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Aggregation and toxicology of titanium dioxide nanoparticles.

Baveye P, Laba M - Environ. Health Perspect. (2008)

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In their study of inhalation exposure of titanium dioxide particles, presented a transmission electron micrograph (TEM) (their Figure 2A) as an image of “dispersed” TiO2 nanoparticles... Yet, the TiO2 nanoparticles in this TEM do not appear to be dispersed... With this image, one can demonstrate quantitatively the extent of clustering by calculating the radial distribution function, defined as the probability of finding a nanoparticle, in any direction, at various distances away from the center of a given nanoparticle... We compared the values obtained for this function with those associated with an image in which the same nanoparticles have been artificially dispersed (with image processing software)... This quantitative difference between the curves in Figure 1B leads to the conclusion that the nanoparticles in Figure 1A are clustered... However, this conclusion is intriguing in itself... Indeed, before obtaining their TEM, suspended the TiO2 nanoparticles in methanol and sonicated the suspension for an unspecified, but presumably appreciable “period of time. ” Given this strongly dispersive treatment, it is remarkable that aggregation still occurred to the extent it did... This observation suggests that the 2- to 5-nm size of the primary TiO2 “nano”-particles may be somewhat irrelevant to environmental and toxicologic concerns because in nature, under conditions far more conducive to aggregation than those imposed by, nanoparticles may never be found alone, but are part of significantly larger-sized aggregates... In a recent study, French et al. (French RA, Jacobson AR, Kim B, Isley SL, Penn RL, Baveye PC, unpublished data) observed that in aqueous suspensions under a range of environmentally relevant conditions of pH and ionic strength, TiO2 nanoparticles form aggregates of several hundred nanometers to several micrometers in diameter within minutes... In any given system (e.g., aerosols), it is possible that even a slight change in pH or ionic strength may cause TiO2 nanoparticles to cluster differently, and therefore to have very dissimilar biological activity... In general, this might explain mixed results found in the literature on the toxicity of TiO2 nanoparticles to environmentally relevant species... Until now, these inconclusive results have been explained by arguing that the high biological activity of TiO2 nanoparticles, caused by their large specific surface area, creates a high potential for inflammatory, pro-oxidant, and antioxidant activity.

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(A) Contrast-enhanced, sharpened, and segmented version of a TEM of a TiO2 nanoparticle suspension (modified from Grassian et al. 2007). (B) Radial distribution function versus radial distance for a representative point in a nanoparticle in (A); the dashed line indicates values for the “original image” [Figure 2A from Grassian et al. (2007)] and the solid line represents a similar point in an image where the nanoparticles are artificially dispersed.
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f1-ehp0116-a0152a: (A) Contrast-enhanced, sharpened, and segmented version of a TEM of a TiO2 nanoparticle suspension (modified from Grassian et al. 2007). (B) Radial distribution function versus radial distance for a representative point in a nanoparticle in (A); the dashed line indicates values for the “original image” [Figure 2A from Grassian et al. (2007)] and the solid line represents a similar point in an image where the nanoparticles are artificially dispersed.

Mentions: In their study of inhalation exposure of titanium dioxide particles, Grassian et al. (2007) presented a transmission electron micrograph (TEM) (their Figure 2A) as an image of “dispersed” TiO2 nanoparticles. Yet, the TiO2 nanoparticles in this TEM do not appear to be dispersed. There is clear evidence of self-organization of the nanoparticles into distinct assemblages, separated by relatively large regions devoid of any particle. This spatial pattern, very unlikely to occur randomly, is even more apparent when Grassian et al.’s TEM is contrast-enhanced, sharpened, and thresholded (Figure 1A) to eliminate the initial grainy background. With this image, one can demonstrate quantitatively the extent of clustering by calculating the radial distribution function (Torquato 2002), defined as the probability of finding a nanoparticle, in any direction, at various distances away from the center of a given nanoparticle. We compared the values obtained for this function with those associated with an image in which the same nanoparticles have been artificially dispersed (with image processing software). In the dispersed case (Figure 1B), the probability of finding a black pixel drops precipitously when the distance exceeds the apparent radius of nanoparticles, and then stays close to zero thereafter. In the “original” case (Grassian et al.’s Figure 2A), there is also a drop, but the radial distribution function never gets to zero. It progressively increases again as the radial distance increases. This quantitative difference between the curves in Figure 1B leads to the conclusion that the nanoparticles in Figure 1A are clustered.


Aggregation and toxicology of titanium dioxide nanoparticles.

Baveye P, Laba M - Environ. Health Perspect. (2008)

(A) Contrast-enhanced, sharpened, and segmented version of a TEM of a TiO2 nanoparticle suspension (modified from Grassian et al. 2007). (B) Radial distribution function versus radial distance for a representative point in a nanoparticle in (A); the dashed line indicates values for the “original image” [Figure 2A from Grassian et al. (2007)] and the solid line represents a similar point in an image where the nanoparticles are artificially dispersed.
© Copyright Policy - public-domain
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2290978&req=5

f1-ehp0116-a0152a: (A) Contrast-enhanced, sharpened, and segmented version of a TEM of a TiO2 nanoparticle suspension (modified from Grassian et al. 2007). (B) Radial distribution function versus radial distance for a representative point in a nanoparticle in (A); the dashed line indicates values for the “original image” [Figure 2A from Grassian et al. (2007)] and the solid line represents a similar point in an image where the nanoparticles are artificially dispersed.
Mentions: In their study of inhalation exposure of titanium dioxide particles, Grassian et al. (2007) presented a transmission electron micrograph (TEM) (their Figure 2A) as an image of “dispersed” TiO2 nanoparticles. Yet, the TiO2 nanoparticles in this TEM do not appear to be dispersed. There is clear evidence of self-organization of the nanoparticles into distinct assemblages, separated by relatively large regions devoid of any particle. This spatial pattern, very unlikely to occur randomly, is even more apparent when Grassian et al.’s TEM is contrast-enhanced, sharpened, and thresholded (Figure 1A) to eliminate the initial grainy background. With this image, one can demonstrate quantitatively the extent of clustering by calculating the radial distribution function (Torquato 2002), defined as the probability of finding a nanoparticle, in any direction, at various distances away from the center of a given nanoparticle. We compared the values obtained for this function with those associated with an image in which the same nanoparticles have been artificially dispersed (with image processing software). In the dispersed case (Figure 1B), the probability of finding a black pixel drops precipitously when the distance exceeds the apparent radius of nanoparticles, and then stays close to zero thereafter. In the “original” case (Grassian et al.’s Figure 2A), there is also a drop, but the radial distribution function never gets to zero. It progressively increases again as the radial distance increases. This quantitative difference between the curves in Figure 1B leads to the conclusion that the nanoparticles in Figure 1A are clustered.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

In their study of inhalation exposure of titanium dioxide particles, presented a transmission electron micrograph (TEM) (their Figure 2A) as an image of “dispersed” TiO2 nanoparticles... Yet, the TiO2 nanoparticles in this TEM do not appear to be dispersed... With this image, one can demonstrate quantitatively the extent of clustering by calculating the radial distribution function, defined as the probability of finding a nanoparticle, in any direction, at various distances away from the center of a given nanoparticle... We compared the values obtained for this function with those associated with an image in which the same nanoparticles have been artificially dispersed (with image processing software)... This quantitative difference between the curves in Figure 1B leads to the conclusion that the nanoparticles in Figure 1A are clustered... However, this conclusion is intriguing in itself... Indeed, before obtaining their TEM, suspended the TiO2 nanoparticles in methanol and sonicated the suspension for an unspecified, but presumably appreciable “period of time. ” Given this strongly dispersive treatment, it is remarkable that aggregation still occurred to the extent it did... This observation suggests that the 2- to 5-nm size of the primary TiO2 “nano”-particles may be somewhat irrelevant to environmental and toxicologic concerns because in nature, under conditions far more conducive to aggregation than those imposed by, nanoparticles may never be found alone, but are part of significantly larger-sized aggregates... In a recent study, French et al. (French RA, Jacobson AR, Kim B, Isley SL, Penn RL, Baveye PC, unpublished data) observed that in aqueous suspensions under a range of environmentally relevant conditions of pH and ionic strength, TiO2 nanoparticles form aggregates of several hundred nanometers to several micrometers in diameter within minutes... In any given system (e.g., aerosols), it is possible that even a slight change in pH or ionic strength may cause TiO2 nanoparticles to cluster differently, and therefore to have very dissimilar biological activity... In general, this might explain mixed results found in the literature on the toxicity of TiO2 nanoparticles to environmentally relevant species... Until now, these inconclusive results have been explained by arguing that the high biological activity of TiO2 nanoparticles, caused by their large specific surface area, creates a high potential for inflammatory, pro-oxidant, and antioxidant activity.

Show MeSH