Carbon nanomaterial such as fullerenes, carbon nanotubes (single wall;SWNT and multi-wall;MWNT), and graphene are used in many different applications such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, energy applications, structural materials, and related areas so they inevitably end up in the environment. Little is known about how these nanomaterials behave in air, water or soil and the risk to humans remains a concern. Similar to other potential pollutants, they may pass from organism to organism, move up food chains in the environment, and may be concentrated in particular "hot spots", either by clumping together with minerals or by interaction with organic matter. At present there is no efficient and accurate way to assess the presence and quantity of these nanomaterials in contaminated sites. Thus, there is a clear and present need for methods for measuring carbon nanomaterial in environmental-relevant mediums (e.g. soil, groundwater, etc.). What is needed is a sensitive and specific assay that can detect and quantify carbon nanomaterial at polluted sites in various mediums. The goal here is to develop an easy-to-use, antibody-based kit that can specifically detect and quantify a wide range of carbon-based nanomaterial in various environmental mediums. To do this we will produce highly specific antibodies to fullerenes, graphene, and carbon nanotubes and use them to develop commercial ELISA kits for detecting these molecules in different mediums. At a recent NIEHS-sponsored Nano Exposure Workshop, a whole section was devoted to discovering "new tools for nano exposure assessment". The immunological tools developed in the proposed studies will be the first step in developing such assays that can specifically detect and quantify these materials in various environments.

Public Health Relevance

The exponential growth in the use of carbon nanomaterials necessitates the need for new ways to assess their presence in different mediums and in environment. However, it has been difficult to assess their presence and role in different mediums due to the lack of specific assays that can detect and quantify them in using rapid and cost effective methods. Here, carbon nanomaterial detection kits will be developed using highly specific antibodies and an easy to use protocol to identify and quantify their presence in various mediums without the use of extremely labor-intensive techniques.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Shaughnessy, Daniel
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Luna Innovations, Inc.
United States
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