Nano-Bio Interactions: Ecotoxicology and Cytotoxicity of Nanomaterials


The turn of the century has seen an explosion in the development of new nanotechnological methods and materials which is leading to an ever-increasing number of commonly used products containing nanomaterials (NMs). According to a recent search (March, 2019) on the Nanodatabase (, the number of products containing nanomaterials is currently 3036. Engineered nanomaterials, due to their unique physicochemical properties, can be successfully applied in a wide range of contexts such as energy, chemical engineering, electronics, biomedicine, agriculture, food and cosmetics. The current widespread production, usage and disposal of NM-based products has caused concerns about NMs’ accumulation in the environment and their potential cytotoxic effects. Both the manufacturing and application of NMs could present a possible source of environmental and/or workers’ and consumers’ exposure. Because of their stability and small size, similar to that of biological macromolecules, NMs remain in the surrounding environment and in the body for a longer period of time compared to their larger counterparts. Since NMs can enter through the skin but also can be ingested or inhaled, there is a growing interest in studying their potential toxic effects. This reasonable interest led to the establishment of a new branch of modern toxicology called “nanotoxicology”.

Nanomaterials can be internalized by cells and interact with DNA, proteins and subcellular compounds (nucleus, lysosomes, Golgi apparatus etc.) exercising different grade of cytotoxicity able to affect cell physiology. Physicochemical properties, including composition, size, shape and surface modification, are key factors determining the nano-bio interaction and toxicity of NMs. These properties can be altered during the transportation and transformation of NMs both in the environment and in organisms, potentially causing unprecedented effects. Moreover, since modern nanomedicine is already successfully using different kinds of nanomaterials for personalized theranostics medical application, the bio-hemocompatibility of these bioengineered NMs are in urgent need of evaluation. Despite efforts to reveal the potential toxicity of NMs, the mechanisms of nano-bio interactions, and the impacts on the environment and health in terms of cytotoxicity are largely still unknown.

The aim of this Research Topic is to gain more information and publish the most recent advances in the characterization and definition of ecotoxicology and cytotoxicity of Nanomaterials. Topics may include but are not limited to:
• NMs interaction with cellular and subcellular compounds
• Environmental fates of engineered NMs.
• Modulation of nano-bio interactions by environmental factors (light, organic matter, etc.).
• Ecotoxicity and environmental impact of NMs.
• Mechanistic study of nano-bio interactions.
• Potential health effects of NMs.
• Engineered NMs safe-by-design.
• Novel tools and approaches for nanotoxicological risk evaluation.
• Bio and hemocompatibility of NMs.
Both original research articles and review articles are welcome.


Keywords: Nanomaterials, Nanotoxicology, Environmental fates, Nanomedicine, Cytotoxicity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Larry Tyler

Managing Editor

Journal of Clinical Toxicology

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