Carbon Nanostructures for Biological Applications

A special issue of C (ISSN 2311-5629).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2020) | Viewed by 35301

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Center for Materials and Microsystems, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, via Sommarive 18, 38123 Trento, Italy
Interests: carbon based nanostructured materials; structure and processing of carbon based materials; diamond and graphene and their use in biomedicine; surface engineering and surface functionalization; surface characterization by photoelectron/electron spectroscopies and optical probes; carbon film synthesis by plasmas; biomaterials
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Co-Guest Editor
Department of Spectroscopy of Excited States, Institute of Low Temperature and Structure Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Okólna St. 2, 50-422 Wrocław, Poland
Interests: sensors; laser spectroscopy; optics; nanoparticles; material characterization; nanomaterials; biomaterials
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Co-Guest Editor
Department of Applied Science and Technology, Politecnico Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24, 10129 Torino, TO, Italy
Interests: materials science; nanotechnology; nanomaterials processing; carbon-based materials; microstructure-property relationship; sensors; Raman spectroscopy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since their discovery which dates back to 1990, carbon nanostructures (CNs) they have been recognized to play a crucial role in a variety of human activities. Thanks to the long list of superior properties, CNs have been deeply introduced in nanotechnology boosting developments in areas including physics, electronics, mechanics, biology and medicine. 

Among other nanostructures those based on carbon may be organized in planar sp2 or tetrahedral sp3 hybrids which may form 0-D, 1-D, 2-D and 3-D systems. The specific arrangement of carbon atoms in each of these structures induces specific intrinsic mechanical, physical, and chemical properties. Belonging to 0-D structures we recognize fullerenes, nanodiamonds, carbon based dendrimers. Carbon nanotubes and carbon fibers are 1-D systems while graphene sheets, carbon based nanofilms, diamond and graphite platelets are 2-D structures. Finally in 3-D carbon may be organized as in graphite and diamond crystals, may form carbon based sponges and scaffolds. An area of fervent research is the application of these carbon nanostructures in biology and medicine. Looking at the current literature and to the technological state-of-the-art there is a large number of examples of applications

Fullerenes and fullerene based dendrimers are utilized in biomedicine as neuroprotective and as contrasting agents in magnetic resonance imaging. CNs are widely utilized in sensing applications. As an example carbon nanotubes and functionalized nanodiamonds are used to sense biological molecules such as glucose, neurotransmitters, toxins, proteins and DNA, aptamers… or microorganisms. Carbon nanotubes and nanofibers as well as graphene are also utilized to reinforce nanocomposites, are used for drug delivery and imaging. Graphene oxide displays interesting antibacterial activity. Nanotubes can be organized in supports for neuron cell growth. Carbon nanomaterials display also therapeutic properties thanks to their strong optical absorption which is exploited in hyperthermal cancer therapy.

However, besides the amazing versatility of CNs, there are also some crucial challenges. In particular still the toxicity related to nano-carbons remain a crucial issue. A number of works report about the toxicity related to the use of the carbon nanomaterials. Different degree of toxicity was found in relation to the geometry of CNs. In vivo toxicity of carbon nanotubes have been reported in a number of studies. Tests on animal have shown that in general exposure to CNs may induce inflammations, fibroses, epithelioid granulomas in the lungs. CNs may display potential cellular cytotoxic effects, and can induce cardiopulmonary and vascular irregularities. In this respect, the surface properties of the CNs, the presence of functional groups, the state of aggregation are crucial factors influencing the response of the biological environment to CNs. Thus, even if consolidated applicative biomedical results have been reached, the search for optimal and efficient carbon based nanomaterials is still ongoing. As seen, the long list of properties makes carbon nanostructures a high versatile platform in the area of biological and biomedical applications. In spite the long period since their discovery, CNs still represent an area of active research showing important perspectives and developments which may have important socio-economic impacts.

Kind regards,

Dr. Giorgio Speranza
Prof. Dr. Anna Lukowiak
Dr. Alberto Tagliaferro
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • carbon nanostructures
  • carbon dots
  • carbon nanotubes
  • carbon nanofibers
  • carbon based coatings
  • nanodiamond
  • graphene
  • biology
  • biomedicine & healthcare
  • sensing
  • drug delivery
  • imaging
  • orthopedics
  • regenerative medicine
  • carbon optical properties
  • carbon electronic properties
  • crabon mechanical properties
  • surface functionalization
  • surface characterization
  • plasmas and material processing
  • toxicity

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 2878 KiB  
Article
Synthesis, Spectroscopic Characterization and Photoactivity of Zr(IV) Phthalocyanines Functionalized with Aminobenzoic Acids and Their GO-Based Composites
by Leili Tahershamsi, Yuriy Gerasymchuk, Anna Wedzynska, Maciej Ptak, Iryna Tretyakova and Anna Lukowiak
C 2020, 6(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/c6010001 - 22 Dec 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3431
Abstract
Two complexes of bis(aminobenzoato)zirconium(IV) phthalocyanine and their graphite oxide-based composites were synthesized and characterized in respect of their photochemical properties. Structures of phthalocyanines were confirmed by Mass and infrared spectroscopies. The absorption and photoluminescence spectra were investigated to show various behavior of the [...] Read more.
Two complexes of bis(aminobenzoato)zirconium(IV) phthalocyanine and their graphite oxide-based composites were synthesized and characterized in respect of their photochemical properties. Structures of phthalocyanines were confirmed by Mass and infrared spectroscopies. The absorption and photoluminescence spectra were investigated to show various behavior of the complexes in different media (dimethyl sulfoxide and saline). Optical technique (monitoring variation of absorption spectra of diphenylisobenzofuran used as an indicator) was used to prove the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by under light irradiation in the range of the first biological window. The photoactivity of the materials was compared and discussed in terms of their potential ability to be used in biomedical applications, for example, as photosensitizers in photodynamic therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Nanostructures for Biological Applications)
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8 pages, 2692 KiB  
Article
Facile Synthesis of Water-Soluble, Highly-Fluorescent Graphene Quantum Dots from Graphene Oxide Reduction for Efficient Cell Labelling
by Luca Minati and Alessia Del Piano
C 2019, 5(4), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/c5040077 - 22 Nov 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3759
Abstract
In this work, we report a simple, one-step, green procedure to fabricate strong blue and yellow photoluminescent graphene quantum dots (GQDs) as by-product of the synthesis of mesoporous graphene hydrogel (GHs). The graphene hydrogel was obtained by chemical reduction of graphene oxide using [...] Read more.
In this work, we report a simple, one-step, green procedure to fabricate strong blue and yellow photoluminescent graphene quantum dots (GQDs) as by-product of the synthesis of mesoporous graphene hydrogel (GHs). The graphene hydrogel was obtained by chemical reduction of graphene oxide using ascorbic acid at mild temperature. As a consequence of the network formation, small fluorescent GQDs can be isolated from the residual solvent, purified from the by-products and finally concentrated to produce GQDs. The GQDs chemistry and morphology were characterized by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). The GQDs mean diameter was about 5–10 nm and they exhibited an intense luminescence in the visible range with an excitation wavelength-dependent fluorescence. Our experiments showed that GQDs were easily internalized in living cells and furthermore, such internalization did not adversely affect cell viability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Nanostructures for Biological Applications)
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9 pages, 2086 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Antioxidant Activity of Pure Graphene Oxide (GO) and ZnO-Decorated Reduced Graphene Oxide (rGO) Using DPPH Radical and H2O2 Scavenging Assays
by Nacera Baali, Assia Khecha, Aicha Bensouici, Giorgio Speranza and Noudjoud Hamdouni
C 2019, 5(4), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/c5040075 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 5761
Abstract
In this work, zinc oxide-decorated graphene oxide (ZnO–rGO) was successfully synthesized with a fast reflux chemical procedure at 100 °C. An equal mass ratio of graphene oxide (GO) and zinc acetate was used as starting materials dissolved, respectively, in ultrapure distilled water and [...] Read more.
In this work, zinc oxide-decorated graphene oxide (ZnO–rGO) was successfully synthesized with a fast reflux chemical procedure at 100 °C. An equal mass ratio of graphene oxide (GO) and zinc acetate was used as starting materials dissolved, respectively, in ultrapure distilled water and dimethylformamide (DMF). Particularly, pure GO was synthesized using Hummers modified protocol by varying the mass ratio of (graphite:potassium permanganate) as follows: 1:2, 1:3, and 1:4, which allow us to obtain six types of pure and decorated samples, named, respectively, GO1:2, GO1:3, GO1:4, ZnO–rGO1:2, ZnO–rGO1:3, and ZnO–rGO1:4 using reflux at 100 °C. X-ray diffraction, FTIR, and Raman spectroscopy spectra confirm the formation of wurzite ZnO in all ZnO-decorated samples with better reduction of GO in ZnO–rGO1:4, confirming that a higher degree of graphene oxidation allows better reduction during the decoration process with ZnO metal oxide. Antioxidant activity of pure and zinc oxide-decorated graphene oxide samples were compared using two different in vitro assays (DPPH radical and H2O2 scavenging activities). Considerable in vitro antioxidant activities in a concentration-dependent manner were recorded. Interestingly, pristine GO showed more elevated scavenging efficiency in DPPH tests while ZnO-decorated GO was relatively more efficient in H2O2 antioxidant assays. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Nanostructures for Biological Applications)
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14 pages, 6075 KiB  
Article
Preparation, Stability and Local Piezoelectrical Properties of P(VDF-TrFE)/Graphene Oxide Composite Fibers
by Maxim Silibin, Dmitry Karpinsky, Vladimir Bystrov, Dzmitry Zhaludkevich, Marina Bazarova, P. Mirzadeh Vaghefi, P. A. A. P. Marques, Budhendra Singh and Igor Bdikin
C 2019, 5(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/c5030048 - 13 Aug 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3283
Abstract
The unprecedented attributes such as biocompatibility and flexibility of macromolecular piezoelectric polymer has triggered an immense interested in scientific society for their potential exploitation in implantable electronic devices. In the present article, a theoretical and experimental investigation is done to explore the polarization [...] Read more.
The unprecedented attributes such as biocompatibility and flexibility of macromolecular piezoelectric polymer has triggered an immense interested in scientific society for their potential exploitation in implantable electronic devices. In the present article, a theoretical and experimental investigation is done to explore the polarization behavior of composite fibers based on copolymer poly-trifluoroethylene P(VDF-TrFE) and graphene oxide (GO) with varying composition of the components is explored for its possible application in bioelectronic devices. Electromechanical properties of the PVDF/GO nanofibers were investigated using piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) method. The switching behavior, charge states, and piezoelectric response of the fibers were found to depend on the concentration of GO up to 20%. Theoretical models of PVDF chains, interacting with Graphene/GO layers has been used to explore the evolution of piezoresponse in the composite fibers. In order to compute piezoelectric coefficients, the behavior of composite in electrical fields has been modeled using software HyperChem. The experimental results are qualitatively correlated with a computed theoretical model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Nanostructures for Biological Applications)
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Review

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36 pages, 4231 KiB  
Review
Hemocompatibility of Carbon Nanostructures
by Mariangela Fedel
C 2020, 6(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/c6010012 - 5 Mar 2020
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 5431
Abstract
Carbon nanostructures (CNs), such as carbon nanotubes, fullerenes, carbon dots, nanodiamonds as well as graphene and its derivatives present a tremendous potential for various biomedical applications, ranging from sensing to drug delivery and gene therapy, biomedical imaging and tissue engineering. Since most of [...] Read more.
Carbon nanostructures (CNs), such as carbon nanotubes, fullerenes, carbon dots, nanodiamonds as well as graphene and its derivatives present a tremendous potential for various biomedical applications, ranging from sensing to drug delivery and gene therapy, biomedical imaging and tissue engineering. Since most of these applications encompass blood contact or intravenous injection, hemocompatibility is a critical aspect that must be carefully considered to take advantage of CN exceptional characteristics while allowing their safe use. This review discusses the hemocompatibility of different classes of CNs with the purpose of providing biomaterial scientists with a comprehensive vision of the interactions between CNs and blood components. The various complex mechanisms involved in blood compatibility, including coagulation, hemolysis, as well as the activation of complement, platelets, and leukocytes will be considered. Special attention will be paid to the role of CN size, structure, and surface properties in the formation of the protein corona and in the processes that drive blood response. The aim of this review is to emphasize the importance of hemocompatibility for CNs intended for biomedical applications and to provide some valuable insights for the development of new generation particles with improved performance and safety in the physiological environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Nanostructures for Biological Applications)
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15 pages, 3485 KiB  
Review
Integration Methods of Cyclodextrins on Gold and Carbon Electrodes for Electrochemical Sensors
by Maria Antonietta Casulli, Irene Taurino, Sandro Carrara and Takashi Hayashita
C 2019, 5(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/c5040078 - 27 Nov 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3711
Abstract
Cyclodextrins (CDs) are oligosaccharides composed of six (α), seven (β) or eight (γ) glucose units. Their inner hydrophobic cavity and hydrophilic external surface enable the formation of the “host-guest inclusion complex” with different organic or inorganic molecules showing high molecular selectivity. For these [...] Read more.
Cyclodextrins (CDs) are oligosaccharides composed of six (α), seven (β) or eight (γ) glucose units. Their inner hydrophobic cavity and hydrophilic external surface enable the formation of the “host-guest inclusion complex” with different organic or inorganic molecules showing high molecular selectivity. For these characteristics, CDs have many potential applications in electrochemical sensing. To enable CDs immobilization on the electrode surfaces, different chemical modifications are needed depending of the electrode material, while nanomaterials have been exploited to enhance the sensing signal. The CDs binding onto gold nanoparticles or carbon nanotubes, as an electron-transfer mediator to the electrode surface, is a typical example of it, while also graphene is largely used. The aim of the present review is to give an overview of CDs properties and their applications to electrochemical sensors for medical diagnostics. Different kinds for the functionalization of CDs onto electrode surfaces will be reviewed as well as their performance in presence of nanomaterials. Finally, CDs-based devices for sensing biomedical molecules of biomedical interest will be briefly presented and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Nanostructures for Biological Applications)
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60 pages, 9268 KiB  
Review
Functionalization of Carbon Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications
by Wei Liu and Giorgio Speranza
C 2019, 5(4), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/c5040072 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 40 | Viewed by 9076
Abstract
Over the past decade, carbon nanostructures (CNSs) have been widely used in a variety of biomedical applications. Examples are the use of CNSs for drug and protein delivery or in tools to locally dispense nucleic acids to fight tumor affections. CNSs were successfully [...] Read more.
Over the past decade, carbon nanostructures (CNSs) have been widely used in a variety of biomedical applications. Examples are the use of CNSs for drug and protein delivery or in tools to locally dispense nucleic acids to fight tumor affections. CNSs were successfully utilized in diagnostics and in noninvasive and highly sensitive imaging devices thanks to their optical properties in the near infrared region. However, biomedical applications require a complete biocompatibility to avoid adverse reactions of the immune system and CNSs potentials for biodegradability. Water is one of the main constituents of the living matter. Unfortunately, one of the disadvantages of CNSs is their poor solubility. Surface functionalization of CNSs is commonly utilized as an efficient solution to both tune the surface wettability of CNSs and impart biocompatible properties. Grafting functional groups onto the CNSs surface consists in bonding the desired chemical species on the carbon nanoparticles via wet or dry processes leading to the formation of a stable interaction. This latter may be of different nature as the van Der Waals, the electrostatic or the covalent, the π-π interaction, the hydrogen bond etc. depending on the process and on the functional molecule at play. Grafting is utilized for multiple purposes including bonding mimetic agents such as polyethylene glycol, drug/protein adsorption, attaching nanostructures to increase the CNSs opacity to selected wavelengths or provide magnetic properties. This makes the CNSs a very versatile tool for a broad selection of applications as medicinal biochips, new high-performance platforms for magnetic resonance (MR), photothermal therapy, molecular imaging, tissue engineering, and neuroscience. The scope of this work is to highlight up-to-date using of the functionalized carbon materials such as graphene, carbon fibers, carbon nanotubes, fullerene and nanodiamonds in biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Nanostructures for Biological Applications)
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