Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

In vitro reactivity of fine and ultrafine particles

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorJean-Jacques Sauvain
InstitutionResearch group "Particles and Health", Institute for Work and Health, (Institut universitaire romand de Santé au Travail), Université Lausanne + Université Genève, Switzerland
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsHigh
Class of NanomaterialGeneric
Impact SectorHuman Health
Broad Research Categories Hazard
NNI identifier

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$327,365.00
Annual Funding$109,121.67
Funding SourceFrench AFSSET and Institut universitaire romand de Santé au Travail
Funding Mechanism
Funding Sector
Start Year2007
Anticipated End Year2010


Toxicity of particulates may be due to the reactivity of their surface when entering in contact with cells. Among other, their potential to generate reactive oxygen species seems to be very important. This work intends to use a simple method in order to determine the ability of some particles (ultrafine TiO2, crocidolite, diesel SRM 1650 and particles from real occupation situations) to catalyse the oxygen reduction by ascorbic acid. The results obtained indicated that: It is possible to detect such reaction with simple equipment (specific oxygen electrode) In the experimental conditions, diesel SRM 1650 reacts about 10 times faster than crocidolite and that ultrafine TiO2 didn’t showed any reactivity. Particles sampled in a bus depot indicated a very high reactivity. Heavy metals (Fe, Cu) could be potential important elements to explain this reactivity. Experimental improvement has to be done mainly for getting a particulate suspension without artefacts.