In how far are physicochemical properties of nanomaterials effecting biological response ?

This is a question which is investigated by a consortium of partners from industry, public bodies and research.

The topic of nano-bio-interactions “nanosafety” is controversially discussed in the public. To what extend are particles with dimensions in the range of a millionth millimetres affecting living organisms? The BMBF funded project “nanoGEM – Nanostructured Materials – Health, Exposure and Material Characteristics” focuses on this topic. The research pursued by the consortium will facilitate answers which are urgently needed for a sound risk assessment.

The main questions investigated are:

  • Will nanoparticles embedded in e.g. plastic materials be released and which circumstances may enhance the release?
  • How do the dimension, the structure and the surface properties of nanoparticles influence the uptake into the human body? Which properties and processes do affect their distribution in humans or excretion?
  • Is the handling of nanomaterials and nanoparticles hazardous for employees and consumers? How can possible risks be assessed?

The project nanoGEM aims to contribute to the clarification of mode of actions of nanomaterials and thus to contribute to the clarification of some of those scientific issues that are most needed to be answered to enable a proper hazard and exposure characterisation of nanomaterials in various exposure situations. This will facilitate the implementation of nanotechnologies in Germany and world wide, and might improve the acceptability and sustainability as well as to support the prospects of ecological and economical success of nanotechnology.

The project nanoGEM is supported by the BMBF and the industry with 6.4 millions Euros and it is the major project within the NanoCare competition