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Ingested engineered nanomaterials: state of science in nanotoxicity testing and future research needs

Overview of attention for article published in Particle and Fibre Toxicology, July 2018
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Ingested engineered nanomaterials: state of science in nanotoxicity testing and future research needs
Published in
Particle and Fibre Toxicology, July 2018
DOI 10.1186/s12989-018-0265-1
Pubmed ID

Ikjot Singh Sohal, Kevin S. O’Fallon, Peter Gaines, Philip Demokritou, Dhimiter Bello


Engineered nanomaterials (ENM) are used extensively in food products to fulfill a number of roles, including enhancement of color and texture, for nutritional fortification, enhanced bioavailability, improved barrier properties of packaging, and enhanced food preservation. Safety assessment of ingested engineered nanomaterials (iENM) has gained interest in the nanotoxicology community in recent years. A variety of test systems and approaches have been used for such evaluations, with in vitro monoculture cell models being the most common test systems, owing to their low cost and ease-of-use. The goal of this review is to systematically assess the current state of science in toxicological testing of iENM, with particular emphasis on model test systems, their physiological relevance, methodological strengths and challenges, realistic doses (ranges and rates), and then to identify future research needs and priorities based on these assessments. Extensive searches were conducted in Google Scholar, PubMed and Web of Science to identify peer-reviewed literature on safety assessment of iENM over the last decade, using keywords such as "nanoparticle", "food", "toxicity", and combinations thereof. Relevant literature was assessed based on a set of criteria that included the relevance of nanomaterials tested; ENM physicochemical and morphological characterization; dispersion and dosimetry in an in vitro system; dose ranges employed, the rationale and dose realism; dissolution behavior of iENM; endpoints tested, and the main findings of each study. Observations were entered into an excel spreadsheet, transferred to Origin, from where summary statistics were calculated to assess patterns, trends, and research gaps. A total of 650 peer-reviewed publications were identified from 2007 to 2017, of which 39 were deemed relevant. Only 21% of the studies used food grade nanomaterials for testing; adequate physicochemical and morphological characterization was performed in 53% of the studies. All in vitro studies lacked dosimetry and 60% of them did not provide a rationale for the doses tested and their relevance. Only 12% of the studies attempted to consider the dissolution kinetics of nanomaterials. Moreover, only 1 study attempted to prepare and characterize standardized nanoparticle dispersions. We identified 5 clusters of factors deemed relevant to nanotoxicology of food-grade iENM: (i) using food-grade nanomaterials for toxicity testing; (ii) performing comprehensive physicochemical and morphological characterization of iENM in the dry state, (iii) establishing standard NP dispersions and their characterization in cell culture medium, (iv) employing realistic dose ranges and standardized in vitro dosimetry models, and (v) investigating dissolution kinetics and biotransformation behavior of iENM in synthetic media representative of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract fluids, including analyses in a fasted state and in the presence of a food matrix. We discussed how these factors, when not considered thoughtfully, could influence the results and generalizability of in vitro and in vivo testing. We conclude with a set of recommendations to guide future iENM toxicity studies and to develop/adopt more relevant in vitro model systems representative of in vivo animal and human iENM exposure scenarios.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 109 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 109 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 22 20%
Researcher 22 20%
Student > Master 16 15%
Student > Bachelor 9 8%
Student > Doctoral Student 5 5%
Other 14 13%
Unknown 21 19%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 12 11%
Environmental Science 11 10%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 10 9%
Chemistry 9 8%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 7 6%
Other 22 20%
Unknown 38 35%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 5. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 16 January 2020.
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Altmetric has tracked 15,432,515 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 73rd percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 454 research outputs from this source. They typically receive more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 9.1. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 69% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 276,555 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 66% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them