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Impacts of chemical modification on the toxicity of diverse nanocellulose materials to developing zebrafish

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  • Alternative Title:
    Cellulose (Lond)
  • Description:
    Cellulose is an abundant and renewable resource currently being investigated for utility in nanomaterial form for various promising applications ranging from medical and pharmaceutical uses to mechanical reinforcement and biofuels. The utility of nanocellulose and wide implementation ensures increasing exposure to humans and the environment as nanocellulose-based technologies advance. Here, we investigate how differences in aspect ratio and changes to surface chemistry, as well as synthesis methods, influence the biocompatibility of nanocellulose materials using the embryonic zebrafish. Investigations into the toxicity of neutral, cationic and anionic surface functionalities revealed that surface chemistry had a minimal influence on the overall toxicity of nanocellulose materials. Higher aspect ratio cellulose nanofibers produced by mechanical homogenization were, in some cases, more toxic than other cellulose-based nanofibers or nanocrystals produced by chemical synthesis methods. Using fluorescently labeled nanocellulose we were able to show that nanocellulose uptake did occur in embryonic zebrafish during development. We conclude that the benign nature of nanocellulose materials makes them an ideal platform to systematically investigate the inherent surface features driving nanomaterial toxicity in order to create safer design principles for engineered nanoparticles.
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