401098 Mitigation of the Cytotoxicity of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Utilizing Surface Functionalization and Nontoxic Surfactants

Monday, April 27, 2015
Exhibit Hall 5 (Austin Convention Center)
Rebecca Elsishans, Chemical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; MaST Research Institute, Sarasota High School, Sarasota, FL

This research sought to address carbon nanotubes’ (CNT) toxicity when released into the environment through the addition of non-toxic surfactants and the novel method of surface functionalization. It is important that the cytotoxicity of CNTs be understood because as their usage increases, the likelihood of their release increases. This can have direct negative effects on the health of both terrestrial organisms – including humans – and aquatic organisms. In testing how the two different methods of solubizing single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) affects cytotoxicity, it was predicted that both methods would decrease cytotoxicity, but that the surfactant suspension method would be more effective. The effects at different concentrations of each nanotube treatment were tested on the growth rates of P. subcapitata and the oxidative stress on E. coli K12. While both methods deceased cytotoxicity, the novel method of surface functionalization significantly outperformed the addition of surfactants, shown by an average increase of 55% in the growth rate of P. subcapitata and an average decrease of 20% in the oxidative stress of E. coli when surface functionalization was used instead of surfactants. Based on these findings, it is suggested that surface functionalization of CNTs should be implemented when risk of environmental contamination is apparent.

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