Impact of Fullerene (C60) on Organisms in the Soil
1 Aug, 2007 10:18 am
The paper, Impact of Fullerene (C60) on a Soil Microbial Community*, reports the effects of the carbon-based nano-scale material, fullerenes, on living organisms in the soil. This work is particularly important because of the lack of published research on the environmental effects of nanomaterials.
This study was designed to investigate the effects of fullerene on organisms in the soil. The solvent commonly used in the preparation of fullerene was also studied because little is known about its environmental impact. Researchers treated soils containing common organisms with C60, water, or the solvent. Samples were incubated for up to six months. Then, organism structure and key biological activities were analyzed. The impact on community structure was evaluated using both fatty acid profiles and following extraction of total genomic DNA.
The results from these tests found that neither fullerene nor the solvent caused any decrease in the amount of organisms in the soil. Levels of oxygen and enzyme activity were not affected. There appeared to be a small impact of fullerene on bacterial diversity. Results did not show any toxic effects from fullerene. In summary, these researchers report that the introduction of fullerene has little impact on the structure and function of the soil microbial community and microbial processes. The work reported in this paper occurred under laboratory conditions. Under real environmental conditions exposure pathways may affect toxicity. Therefore, long-term observations of the behavior of fullerenes and their interactions with soil microbial communities in natural soils are needed.
Project website: www.purdue.edu/ane
Tong Z., et al, Impact of Fullerene (C60) on a Soil Microbial Community, published in Environ.Sci. Technol., ASAP Article 10.1021/es061953l S0013-936X(06)01953-5, Web Release Date: March 14, 2007.