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Molecules 2017, 22(9), 1439;

Toxicity Effects of Functionalized Quantum Dots, Gold and Polystyrene Nanoparticles on Target Aquatic Biological Models: A Review

Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II, Complesso Universitario di Monte S. Angelo, via Cinthia ed. 7, 80126 Naples, Italy
Department of Pharmacy, University of Naples Federico II, Via Mezzocannone 16, 80134 Naples, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 July 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 28 August 2017 / Published: 31 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptide-Based Drugs and Drug Delivery Systems)
Full-Text   |   PDF [266 KB, uploaded 31 August 2017]


Nano-based products are widespread in several sectors, including textiles, medical-products, cosmetics, paints and plastics. Nanosafety and safe-by-design are driving nanoparticle (NP) production and applications through NP functionalization (@NPs). Indeed, @NPs frequently present biological effects that differ from the parent material. This paper reviews the impact of quantum dots (QDs), gold nanoparticles (AuNPs), and polystyrene-cored NPs (PSNPs), evidencing the role of NP functionalization in toxicity definition. Key biological models were taken into consideration for NP evaluation: Saccharomyces cerevisiae, fresh- (F) and saltwater (S) microalgae (Raphidocelis subcapitata (F), Scenedesmus obliquus (F) and Chlorella spp. (F), and Phaeodactylum tricornutum (S)), Daphnia magna, and Xenopus laevis. QDs are quite widespread in technological devices, and they are known to induce genotoxicity and oxidative stress that can drastically change according to the coating employed. For example, AuNPs are frequently functionalized with antimicrobial peptides, which is shown to both increase their activity and decrease the relative environmental toxicity. P-NPs are frequently coated with NH2 for cationic and COOH for anionic surfaces, but when positively charged toxicity effects can be observed. Careful assessment of functionalized and non-functionalized NPs is compulsory to also understand their potential direct and indirect effects when the coating is removed or degraded. View Full-Text
Keywords: toxicity; nanosafety; nanoparticles; functionalization toxicity; nanosafety; nanoparticles; functionalization
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Libralato, G.; Galdiero, E.; Falanga, A.; Carotenuto, R.; de Alteriis, E.; Guida, M. Toxicity Effects of Functionalized Quantum Dots, Gold and Polystyrene Nanoparticles on Target Aquatic Biological Models: A Review. Molecules 2017, 22, 1439.

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