Fullerenes toxicity and electronic properties


Nanotechnology globally represents a new direction within scientific development, where the atomic and electronic properties of molecules are used in a unique fashion to produce and construct new and exotic materials and products. Fullerenes (Bucky balls, C60) constitute a particular group within the field of nanotechnology. Fullerenes find applications in medicine, industrial chemistry and electronics. However, there are several unanswered questions about fullerenes and their toxicological properties. Most toxicological studies on fullerenes evolve around the in vitro and in vivo aspects of pristine C60 along with chemically modified C60 molecules. We reviewed toxicology reports on C60. We bring a critical and challenging evaluation of the electronic and quantum properties of C60 molecules in context with the implications on cellular factors and metabolites. The evaluation shows that the reactivity and quantum chemical properties of C60 can have unexpected effects in the cell, by principally absorbing metabolites, such as OH− and H+ ions and alter its reactivity. We thus challenge the present view of C60 solely based on empirical studies, based on the electronic properties of C60 that vary considerably with their size and reaction path. A further example of this is the absorption of divalent zinc ions, which shows an increase in reactivity of the C60 that presents an important pattern of chemical state, reactivity and toxicological potential. The results evaluate the toxicological potential of C60 from a different angle than conventional, by applying a blend of critical review of the findings on C60 toxicity, their chemical and electronic properties.