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Eureka Moment In Nanoecotoxicology

A Quiet Revolution

The nanotech world just witnessed a revolution. For the first time in history, scientists at the University of South Carolina’s Center for Environmental NanoScience and Risk (CENR) and PerkinElmer have precisely quantified the uptake of metal nanoparticles by individual cells. Using PerkinElmer’s innovative NexION® Single Cell Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (SC-ICP-MS), and Single Particle Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (SP-ICP-MS), the researchers were able to analyze and quantify the uptake of metals and metal nanoparticles into cells at exposure levels measuring as small as 0.1 part per billion1. They also determined the intrinsic metal content of the cells themselves.

“The current standard methodology gives the total metal concentration for an entire cell population rather than on a per-cell basis,” says Dr. Ruth Merrifield, a nanoscale physicist and nanoecotoxicologist at CENR. “As such, the metal concentration of an individual cell relies on the assumption that all cells accumulate the same amount of dissolved or nanoparticulate metal, meaning that all information about the diversity within the cell population is lost.”

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