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Further research on effects of nanomaterials  

By Gerald Ondrey |

How a nanoparticle behaves in the body is determined by the properties of the substance it consists of. The size of the particles is of secondary importance. If a biological effect is present, it can often be weakened by a technique known as functionalization. These are results of the NanoGEM (Nanostructured materials – Health, Exposure and Material Properties) project initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF; Bonn, Germany) and involving 19 research institutions and companies, which have been working together for three years. Research topics included the absorption and distribution of nanoparticles in the human body depending on their size, structure and surface properties. The project, on which the BMBF and industry have jointly spent about €6.5 million, was led by the Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology (IUTA) in Duisburg, Germany. Altogether 16 different materials were examined by the researchers over the last few years, among other things to find out what happens to different nanoparticles when they are inhaled or ingested and how they behave inside the body. Test substances were silicon dioxide (SiO2) and zirconium dioxide (ZrO2), which are applied, for example, in paints to increase…
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