Authors: Bourdo SE, Al Faouri R, Sleezer R, Nima ZA, Lafont A, Chhetri BP, Benamara M, Martin B, Salamo GJ, Biris AS
Publication: J Appl Toxicol. 2017 Nov;37(11):1288-1296. doi: 10.1002/jat.3493. Epub 2017 Jul 5.
Graphene-based nanomaterials have received significant attention in the last decade due to their interesting properties. Its electrical and thermal conductivity and strength make graphene well suited for a variety of applications, particularly for use as a composite material in plastics. Furthermore, much work is taking place to utilize graphene as a biomaterial for uses such as drug delivery and tissue regeneration scaffolds. Owing to the rapid progress of graphene and its potential in many marketplaces, the potential toxicity of these materials has garnered attention. Graphene, while simple in its purest form, can have many different chemical and physical properties. In this paper, we describe our toxicity evaluation of pristine graphene and a functionalized graphene sample that has been oxidized for enhanced hydrophilicity, which was synthesized from the pristine sample. The samples were characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, zeta-potential, atomic force microscopy and electron microscopy. We discuss the disagreement between the size of imaged samples analyzed by atomic force microscopy and by transmission electron microscopy. Furthermore, the samples each exhibit quite different surface chemistry and structure, which directly affects their interaction with aqueous environments and is important to consider when evaluating the toxicity of materials both in vitro and in vivo.