Thursday, December 23, 2004

More on the toxicity of buckminsterfullerene

CHRISTINE EVANS-PUGHE, in an article "Small but deadly," reviews some of the issues with toxicity of buckyballs.

-->The first evidence came earlier this year when Eva Oberdorster, an American toxicologist at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, published a study showing how, after two days of swimming in water containing buckyballs, largemouth bass fish suffered damage to the fat membranes in their brains. Their livers had responded as though there was a toxin present.

Now, scientists at Rice University, Houston, have pinpointed what could be the mechanism causing this damage. Rice's breakthrough study, published in the journal Nano Letters, is the first to look at the toxic effects on individual human cells exposed to fullerenes, and the first to indicate the cause. "People have shown there's a hazard, but this is the first work about how that hazard comes to be. It's important for the community to understand how, because then you can change it," says Kristen Kulinowski, the director of Rice's Centre for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology.<--

The work does not seem to address the instability of buckminsterfullerene to oxygen. That is, unless properly protected from oxygen, buckminsterfullerene reacts with oxygen to make, initially C60O. The story of the reaction of C60 with fluorine (to attempt to form C60F60) is also an interesting one. Part of it involves Henry Selig, then at the Hebrew University of Jersusalem.

On the flip side of this is "A biologically effective fullerene (C-60) derivative with superoxide dismutase mimetic properties," Free Radic Biol Med, 2004;37(8):1191-1202)

Separately, Carbon Nanotechnologies Inc. (CNI) and C Sixty Inc. announced on Dec. 21, 2004 the completion of a merger of the two companies. C Sixty will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of CNI. C Sixty has patents directed to biomedical uses of fullerenes and methods for modification and synthesis of these compounds.


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