As the drive to commercialise graphene continues, it is important that all safety aspects are thoroughly researched and understood. The Graphene Flagship project has a dedicated Work Package studying the impact of graphene and related materials on our health, as well as their environmental impact. This enables safety by design to become a core part of innovation.
Researches and companies are currently using a range of materials such as few layered graphene, graphene oxide and heterostructures. The first step to assess the toxicology is to fully characterise these materials.
Graphene Flagship researchers reviewed the current research into the safety of graphene and related materials looking at both human health and environmental impact.
Credit: Fotolia / Graphene Flagship
Usage Restrictions: None
This work overviews the production and characterisation methods, and considers different materials, which biological effects depend on their inherent properties.
"One of the key messages is that this family of materials has varying properties, thus displaying varying biological effects. It is important to emphasize the need not only for a systematic analysis of well-characterized graphene-based materials, but also the importance of using standardised in vitro or in vivo assays for the safety assessment," says Bengt Fadeel, lead author of this paper working at Graphene Flagship partner Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
"This review correlates the physicochemical characteristics of graphene and related materials to the biological effects. A classification based on lateral dimensions, number of layers and carbon-to-oxygen ratio allows us to describe the parameters that can alter graphene's toxicology.
This can orient future development and use of these materials," explains Alberto Bianco, from Graphene Flagship partner CNRS, France and deputy leader of the Graphene Flagship Work Package on Health and Environment.
The paper gives a comprehensive overview of all aspects of graphene health and environmental impact, focussing on the potential interactions of graphene-based materials with key target organs including immune system, skin, lungs, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, central nervous system, reproductive system, as well as a wide range of other organisms including bacteria, algae, plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates in various ecosystems.
"One cannot draw conclusions from previous work on other carbon-based materials such as carbon nanotubes and extrapolate to graphene. Graphene-based materials are less cytotoxic when compared to carbon nanotubes and graphene oxide is readily degradable by cells of the immune system," comments Fadeel.
Andrea C. Ferrari, Science and Technology Officer of the Graphene Flagship and Chair of its Management Panel added that "understanding any potential Health and Environmental impacts of graphene and related materials has been at the core of all Graphene Flagship activities since day one.
This review provides a solid guide for the safe use of these materials, a key step towards their widespread utilization as targeted by our innovation and technology roadmap."
The Graphene Flagship was launched by the European Union in 2013 as part of its largest research initiative ever. With a budget of €1 billion it represents a new form of joint, coordinated research initiative. The overall goal of the Graphene Flagship is to take graphene and related materials from the realm of academic laboratories into European society, facilitating economic growth and creating new jobs.
Through a combined academic-industrial consortium consisting of more than 150 partners in over 20 European countries, the research effort covers the entire value chain, from materials production to components and system integration, and targets a number of specific goals that exploit the unique properties of graphene and related materials.
Dr. Fernando Gomollón-Bel | EurekAlert!
First detailed electronic study of new nickelate superconductor finds 3D metallic state
22.01.2020 | DOE/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
A new look at 'strange metals'
21.01.2020 | Vienna University of Technology
Researchers from Dresden and Osaka present the first fully integrated flexible electronics made of magnetic sensors and organic circuits which opens the path towards the development of electronic skin.
Human skin is a fascinating and multifunctional organ with unique properties originating from its flexible and compliant nature. It allows for interfacing with...
Researchers of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital Dresden at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC), together with an international...
A Duke University research team has identified a new function of a gene called huntingtin, a mutation of which underlies the progressive neurodegenerative...
For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".
Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...
KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications
Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....
16.01.2020 | Event News
15.01.2020 | Event News
07.01.2020 | Event News
24.01.2020 | Life Sciences
24.01.2020 | Life Sciences
24.01.2020 | Life Sciences