Researchers demonstrate toxic effects of graphene on aquatic life
By looking at the effects of graphene on water fleas, scientists in China have discovered that it may disrupt aquatic ecosystems, suggesting an unfortunate dark side to the wonder material.
Graphene, the poster child of carbon nanomaterials, has been extensively studied in recent years, and has shown great promise in fields ranging from materials chemistry to electronics and medicine. However, until now its toxicity to aquatic organisms has not been a serious concern.
Wenhong Fan and his team at Beihang University suspended a range of carbon nanomaterials in water and observed their effects on daphnids, also called water fleas, a model organism for water pollution tests. At concentrations above 0.5mg/l graphene significantly impaired their growth and reproduction over a period of 21 days. Fan speculates this is caused by adsorption of graphene onto the daphnids’ surface. Other carbon nanomaterials, including buckminsterfullerene, single walled carbon nanotubes and multi-walled carbon nanotubes, proved more benign.
Read the full article in Chemistry World.
Wenhong Fan, Yingying Liu, Zhizhen Xu, Xiangrui Wang, Xiaomin Li and Shenglian Luo
Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2016, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C6EN00361C, Paper