As carbon nanotube (CNT) applications become more abundant, so do production demands. Because of this increased activity, much research has been performed in examining the toxicity of CNTs. Nanotubes have been found to exhibit toxic effects to the body including inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis, similar to that witnessed from asbestos. As such, an effective method to remove these toxic fibers from the environment needs to be developed. We hypothesize here that by using enzymatic catalysis, we can initiate degradation of CNTs in environmentally and physiologically relevant settings. Our preliminary data shows that a natural enzyme horseradish peroxidase (HRP), along with low, local concentrations of H2O2 (40 5M), can degrade these nanomaterials. We have also observed that human myeloperoxidase (hMPO) can degrade CNTs, illustrating a two-pronged approach (environment and human health). Our specific goals for this project include (1) identifying environmental and structural factors affecting the kinetics of CNT degradation using HRP and hMPO, (2) identifying the molecular mechanism(s) of CNT degradation catalyzed by HRP and hMPO, (3) determining the products of HRP/hMPO- degradation of CNTs and evaluating their toxicity. The significant endpoint of this study will be marked by an understanding of the effects of CNTs and their transformation products on human health, including the necessary chemical functionalization for their biodegradation in the environment and in vivo.

Public Health Relevance

Developments in nanotechnology vastly increase the demand and use of carbon nanotubes, correspondingly with their health hazards and toxicity to the environment. This dictates the necessity to develop approaches for safe removal of carbon nanotubes from the environment. This proposal outlines novel technologies and protocols for biodegradation of carbon nanotubes through enzymatic catalysis mitigating environmental and subsequent physiological toxicity from carbon nanomaterials.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-TN-J (R))
Program Officer
Nadadur, Srikanth
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Menas, Autumn L; Yanamala, Naveena; Farcas, Mariana T et al. (2017) Fibrillar vs crystalline nanocellulose pulmonary epithelial cell responses: Cytotoxicity or inflammation? Chemosphere 171:671-680
Peng, Guiming; Ellis, James E; Xu, Gang et al. (2016) In Situ Grown TiO2 Nanospindles Facilitate the Formation of Holey Reduced Graphene Oxide by Photodegradation. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 8:7403-10
Farcas, Mariana T; Kisin, Elena R; Menas, Autumn L et al. (2016) Pulmonary exposure to cellulose nanocrystals caused deleterious effects to reproductive system in male mice. J Toxicol Environ Health A 79:984-997
Bhattacharya, Kunal; Mukherjee, Sourav P; Gallud, Audrey et al. (2016) Biological interactions of carbon-based nanomaterials: From coronation to degradation. Nanomedicine 12:333-51
Shvedova, Anna A; Kisin, Elena R; Yanamala, Naveena et al. (2016) Gender differences in murine pulmonary responses elicited by cellulose nanocrystals. Part Fibre Toxicol 13:28
Vlasova, Irina I; Kapralov, Alexandr A; Michael, Zachary P et al. (2016) Enzymatic oxidative biodegradation of nanoparticles: Mechanisms, significance and applications. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 299:58-69
Shvedova, Anna A; Kisin, Elena R; Yanamala, Naveena et al. (2015) MDSC and TGF? Are Required for Facilitation of Tumor Growth in the Lungs of Mice Exposed to Carbon Nanotubes. Cancer Res 75:1615-23
Seo, Wanji; Kapralov, Alexandr A; Shurin, Galina V et al. (2015) Payload drug vs. nanocarrier biodegradation by myeloperoxidase- and peroxynitrite-mediated oxidations: pharmacokinetic implications. Nanoscale 7:8689-94
Burkert, Seth C; Star, Alexander (2015) Corking Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanotube Cups with Gold Nanoparticles for Biodegradable Drug Delivery Applications. Curr Protoc Chem Biol 7:249-62
Dong, Haifeng; Zhao, Yong; Tang, Yifan et al. (2015) Oxidative unzipping of stacked nitrogen-doped carbon nanotube cups. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 7:10734-41

Showing the most recent 10 out of 36 publications