Realizing comparable oxidative and cytotoxic potential of single- and multiwalled carbon nanotubes through annealing

Leanne M. Pasquini, Ryan C. Sekol, André D. Taylor, Lisa D. Pfefferle, Julie B. Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The potential applications as well as the environmental and human health implications of carbon nanomaterials are well represented in the literature. There has been a recent focus on how specific physicochemical properties influence carbon nanotube (CNT) function as well as cytotoxicity. The ultimate goal is a better understanding of the causal relationship between fundamental physiochemical properties and cytotoxic mechanism in order to both advance functional design and to minimize unintended consequences of CNTs. This study provides characterization data on a series of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) that underwent acid treatment followed by annealing at increasing temperatures, ranging from 400 to 900 C. These results show that MWNTs can be imparted with the same toxicity as single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) by acid treatment and annealing. Further, we were able to correlate this toxicity to the chemical reactivity of the MWNT suggesting that it is a chemical rather than physical hazard. This informs the design of MWNT to be less hazardous or enables their implementation in antimicrobial applications. Given the reduced cost and ready dispersivity of MWNTs as compared to SWNTs, there is a significant opportunity to pursue the use of MWNTs in novel applications previously thought reserved for SWNTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8775-8783
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 6 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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