Thursday, July 2, 2009

SEPARATING THE HYPE AND THE BUZZ 070109

More.

We have one breakthrough and twelve (12) noteworthy articles and report and a pile of honorable mentions. This is the last post for a week until I can catch up on a stack of reports.


BREAKTHROUGH

U of Georgia researchers have developed a successful way to grow molecular wire brushes that conduct electrical charges, a first step in developing biological fuel cells that could power pacemakers, cochlear implants and prosthetic limbs.
See EurekaAlert, June 19, 2009 and Chemical Science, June 5, 2009.

NEWSWORTHY

1. EARLY DETECTION OF BLINDNESS.
Researchers from the U Kentucky claim to be able to detect abnormal blood vessels in the living eyes of mice by attaching anti-CCR3 antibodies to tiny semiconductor nanocrystals called "quantum dots" and injecting these into the mice. Early detection may improve treatment regimens.
See Nanowerk, June 15, 2009 and Nature, June 14, 2009.

2. DRUG DELIVERY
Cornell and Shenzhen U researchers claim to have developed a technique that could one day be used to deliver vaccines, drugs or genetic material to treat cancer and blood and immunological disorders. The research involved nanocapsules containing a small-interfering RNA.
See Cornell Chronicle, June 25, 2009 and Gene Therapy Online, June 25, 2009.

3. REACH HAVING CLASSIFICATION ISSUES
Confusion over classification of nanomaterials under the Reach chemicals legislation has led to two groups of companies using different criteria to submit data on carbon nanotubes to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Currently there is so much uncertainty about dealing with nanomaterials under the Reach regulations (which came into force in 2008) that different groups of companies are forming separate data-gathering bodies, called substance information exchange forums (SIEFs), to deal with carbon nanotubes (CNTs).
See Chemistry World, June 16, 2009.

4. EPA ISSUES NANO RULE
U.S. EPA issued a final rule for carbon nanotubes under the Toxic Substances and Control Act, subjecting them to a "new-use" regulation that gives the agency greater authority. Makers of certain carbon nanotubes, as well as those of 21 other chemicals, now must notify EPA at least 90 days before starting manufacturing. The rule takes effect Aug. 24.
See EENewsNet, June 24, 2009.

5. NANO TERM ADDED VALUE OR NOT
A researcher at the National Institute for Consumer Research in Norway claims companies may be less inclined to highlight nanomaterials in their products. While his sample is small, he searched a website run by a major international cosmetics company, using keywords like 'nanotechnology' and 'nano', to estimate how many products contain nanotechnology. His search turned up 29 products in 2007, but when he repeated the same exercise recently, there were zero hits. This, he said, suggests that companies may now view 'nano' as a negative label rather than an added value. Another interpretation could be these products were never marketed or their composition changed to reflect any negative association OR companies have decided to simply move on, add nano-ingredients, and fail to inform consumers. Interesting theses.
See EurActiv, June 15, 2009


6. MAKING SILVER NON-CYTOTOXIC.
Researchers at the U of Trieste described the development of a novel non-cytotoxic nanocomposite hydrogel material based on natural polysaccharides and silver nanoparticles for antimicrobial applications.
See Nanowerk, June 29, 2009 and Biomacromolecules, April 30, 2009.


7. NANO-ALUMINUM AND AGGLOMERATION.
San Diego researchers found that the aluminum particles quickly clustered and stuck together. They also found that the surface charge of the particles affected their movement through soil.
See Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2009

8. CNTS COULD HURT PLANTS.
U Lancester researchers have shown that carbon nanotubes can pierce plant root cells, providing a rapid route for other pollutants to infiltrate the cellular structure of plants.
See Chemistry World, June 10, 2009

9. BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSIS.
Washington U research claim photoacoustic imaging with a carbon single-walled nanotube (SWNT) contrast agent could provide a non-invasive alternative to sentinel lymph-node biopsy.
See NanotechWeb, June 16, 2009 and Physics in Medicine and Biology, 2009.


10. NANO AND LUNG CANCER (IN VITRO).

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing reported several types of PAMAMs (ployamidoamine dendrimers) killed human lung cells in the lab.
See Nanowerk, June 11, 2009 and Journal of Molecular Cell Biology, June 11, 2009.

11. ANOTHER NANO-ASBESTOS CLAIM (SORT OF).
The Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) outlines disturbing parallels between asbestos and nanotechnology in order to illustrate the eight needed steps that the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) should take to improve disclosures made to investors.
See Nanowerk, June 15, 2009.

12. NANOPARTICLE UPTAKE IN MARINE ECOSYSTEMS.
Researchers at the U of South Carolina observed that clams and biofilms accumulating the most nanoparticles by mass. This could be a serious problem if the same thing happened in the natural environment because biofilms are used as food sources for several different kinds of detritivores, some of which are prey for larger arthropods and small fish.
See NanoTechWeb, June 24, 2009 and Nature Nanotechnology, June 21, 2009.

HONORABLE MENTION


NEW SOCIAL SCIENCE DATA
Researchers from the U Wisconsin found that the public tends to focus on the benefits — rather than potential environmental and health risks — when making decisions about nanotechnology regulation, whereas scientists mainly focus on potential risks and economic values.
See Press Release, June 19, 2009 and the Journal of Nanoparticle Research, June 19, 2009.

LIKELY NANO-SCAM IN AFRICA
An alleged nano product marketed in Uganda looks like a piece of glass and costs between Shs 500,000- 1,000,000. The glass claims to make sick people get nutrients from its use. One pours water and drinks. It is also claimed that carrying it in one’s pocket makes them healthier.
See Sunday Monitor, June 28, 2009

NEW MAGAZINE
India has published a new monthly magazine in nanotechnology called NANO DIGEST. If anyone has a PDF version, let me know or send it along.
See IndiaPRWire, June 15, 2009

STAR TREK TRANSPORTERS????
Stanford researchers pass nanoparticles through rock. With video (at least for now).
See ABC, June 28, 2009.

PAKISTAN AND NANOSCIENCE
Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC) will spend US$196.7 million — 30 per cent more than last year — on scientific projects and scholarships in public-sector universities. Much of this money will be used to upgrade science libraries and laboratories and establish centers of excellence for nanotechnology, endocrinology, virology and bioinformatics.
See Science and Development Network, June 29, 2009.

MORE SOLAR
A team of researchers from U Florida and Savannah River National Laboratory are studying how nanostructured coatings mimic structures found in nature that increase the usefulness of solar energy.
See Nanowerk, June 25, 2009.

WAR ON SLEEPING SICKNESS
Researchers at the Institute of Primate Research (IPR) in Nairobi and counterparts from the EU are using nanoscience principles to develop more effective ways of diagnosing and treating trypanosomiasis disease in humans, which is also known as nagana in livestock. Experts have said they may develop a more effective kit for detecting sleeping sickness and medication against the condition in the next three years.
See Daily Nation, July 1, 2009.

RUSSIA AND JAPAN CONNECTION
RUSNANO and the Japanese Ministery of Economy, Trade and Industry, have agreed to establish a workgroup for cooperation in the field of nanotechnology. The decision was made at a meeting during a visit to Japan by a delegation of RUSNANO. The initiative for the agreement was issued by the Japanese.
See RUSNANO, June 17, 2009.


EU AND MALAYSIA CONNECTION
The European Union has called on Malaysian Research and Technological Development (RTD) institutions to fully utilize the EU New Framework Programme 7, aimed at boosting innovation and research capacity. This would build on the five projects already underway. Climate change including technology transfer, carbon capture and storage, bio fuels and renewable energy, nanotechnology and ICT were highlighted as priority areas for EU-Malaysia cooperation.
See Bernama, June 10, 2009.

ANOTHER ROADMAP – PHILIPPINES.
The Philippines revealed a 10-year strategy to create a commercially viable industry using nanotechnology.
See Inquirer.net, June 17, 2009.

HONG KONG AND NANO-INDUSTRY.
Hong Kong’s Innovation and Technology Fund established in 1999 with an allocation of 5 billion HK dollars (645.79 million U.S. dollars has supported about 1,400 projects with a total investment of about 4 billion HK dollars (516.63 million U.S. dollars), biotech and nanotech account for more than 12 percent of the funding. Projects that have been supported include those in nanomaterials, nanoelectronics, green nanotech, nanotech for textile and apparel applications, and nanotech for medical and healthcare applications.
See Xinhuanet, June 22, 2009.

BAYER BUILDING NANOTUBE PLANT IN GERMANY
Bayer MaterialScience has begun construction of a new facility for the production of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in Chempark Leverkusen, Germany. The new plant will have a capacity of 200 tons/year. The company will invest about 22 million euros in the planning, development and construction of the plant.
See Nanoforum, June 10, 2009.

NANO AND SURFBOARDS.
Entropy Surfboards and Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) have teamed up to deliver a new line of custom-made surfboards that incorporate carbon nanotubes from BMS.
See Nanoforum, May 22, 2009.


NANOCRYSTALLINE CELULOSE AND THE FORESTRY INDUSTRY

Nanocrystalline cellulose, or NCC for short, has yet to make an impact on the marketplace, but in a few years companies could find commercial uses in goods as diverse as lipstick to SUVs because of properties such as strength and toughness, biodegradability and ability to “tune” colors without dye.
See Edmonton Journal, June 24, 2009.

Going for Lasik surgery soon. Might be due to reading all these nano-articles.

Yikes.

1 comment:

Wilma said...

This is interesting. VADLO comes to mind, it is a nanobiology search engine. There are good cartoons also.