nanotehnoloogia, nanoteknologia, nanotechnologija, nanotehnologijas, nanoteknologija,
nanotechnologii, nanotecnologia, nanotehnologijo,
put to the test
New research consortium examines possible risks with the goal of supporting small
and medium-sized companies.
Dresden/Leipzig. A new research project
is investigating the effects of nanoparticles at the
research and development stage on people's health and
the environment. These particles, which are less than
100 nanometres in size, are being developed, among
other applications, for surface finishing, for catalysts
and fuel cells or for use in the electrical industry.
The INOS research project (Identification
and Assessment of the Effects of Engineered Nanoparticles
on Human and Environmental Health) is planned for
three years and has received financial support of
over one million euro from the German Ministry of
Research. The aim is to create a scientifically-based
data base where anyone can find information about
the potential risks of nanoparticles.
Experience with other emerging technologies has shown that they are only accepted
by society if possible health effects are analysed and published early on. Nanotechnologies
are considered the growth market of the future. The Federal Ministry of Research
expects the world market for products influenced by nanotechnologies to increase
ten-fold in the next few years, to a total of one trillion euro. However, small
and mid-sized companies in particular are often not capable of testing the risks
of nanoparticles to any great extent or over a long time by their own means.
This is why a certified laboratory shall be established following the research
project; one which will mainly act as a contact partner to mid-sized firms, coordinating
and carrying out analyses of the possible risks of nanoparticles.
Research institutes and companies from Dresden and Leipzig involved in material
sciences, environmental sciences and medicine have therefore come together to
form a research consortium. Taking part are the Max Bergmann Centre for Biomaterials
(MBZ), the “Carl Gustav Carus” medical faculty of Dresden University of Technology,
the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) and Namos
GmbH from Dresden, as well as the Leipzig-Halle Centre for Environmental Research
The picture of the nanoparticles was taken by transmission
Source: Dr. Volkmar Richter, Dresden Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies
and Systems (IKTS)
thousandth the diameter of a human hair – that is how
small they are, these synthetically-produced nanoparticles
we are hearing more and more about in many branches
of industry, and also in the public domain. What are
synthetic nanoparticles and what makes them so attractive?
The word “nano” comes from Greek and means “dwarf”.
Typically, particles below 100 nanometres in size (one
billionth of a metre) are termed nanoparticles. This
is the range in which materials can sometimes take
on entirely new characteristics because of their small
size. For example, carbon nanotubes have a greater
tensile strength than steel, are very good electrical
conductors and conduct heat better than diamonds, until
now the best-known heat conductors. Products made of
nanoparticles can, for example, absorb considerably
more light or be used as far more effective catalysts,
as they have a larger surface with the same mass compared
with larger particles. This is why improved or entirely
new solutions are expected from nanotechnology in information
technology, medicine, environmental technology, cosmetics
and materials. Yet how do things stand with nanoparticles'
compatibility with human beings and the environment?
What happens if particles which are a thousand times
smaller than human cells come into contact with these
Dr. Christoph Veß, UFZ (Department of Cell
Toxicology) in his research lab
Source: André Künzelmann/UFZ
are the questions the INOS research consortium is dedicated
to answering. Within this project, scientists are examining
whether and under what conditions nanoparticles, which
could in future be of importance for engineering, the
chemicals industry, energy management and microelectronics,
can produce undesired effects on the cells of human
beings and fish. The testing will first be carried
out in vitro, i.e. outside the organisms, using different
cell cultures, and the results will then be made available
to the public in a freely accessible data base. Methods
are being developed which will allow a large number
of particles to be examined under predefined conditions
for their effects on cells, with no animal testing,
giving prior indication of any potential dangers. What
the researchers are particularly interested in here
is whether the function and viability of cells of the
nervous system, lungs, intestines or the skin are influenced
and if genetic damage or changes in immunoregulation
More specialised information:
Prof. Wolfgang Pompe
Max Bergmann Centre for Biomaterials (MBZ) Telephone: +49 (0) 351- 463-31420 www.mpgfk.tu-dresden.de/index.html
Dr. Kristin Schirmer
Leipzig-Halle Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) Telephone: +49 (0) 341-235-2699 www.ufz.de/index.php?de=5330
UFZ Public Relations
Doris Böhme, Tilo Arnhold
Telephone: +49 (0) 341-235-2278
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'presse' + '@' + 'ufz.de'
+ ' '); firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Hrissanthi Ikonomidou
Dresden University of Technology
Tel: +49 (0) 351-4582230
Dr. Volkmar Richter
Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems
Telephone: +49 (0) 351-2553-614
Dr. Jürgen Hofinger
Telephone: +49 (0) 351-796 572-0
Further links on the theme of nano technologies:
Here is the research project's databank in future online:
Federal Ministry for Education and Research brochure “Wunderwelt Werkstoffe”:
Bergmann Centre for Biomaterials , Dresden
(MBZ) was founded in 2002 as a joint facility of
the University of Technology (TUD) and the Leibniz
Institute of Polymer Research e.V. (IPF). The centre
brings together both centres' activities in the
field of medical research into biomaterials. At
the working group for materials science and nanotechnology
at the Institute for Materials Science, Dresden
University of Technology, research has been carried
out into nanotechnology themes and medical biomaterials
development for many years.
The Department for Neuropediatrics (i.e.
neuropathy in children) was founded in October 2004
at the “Carl Gustav Carus” medical faculty, Dresden
University of Technology. The aim of the department's
research work is to identify and characterise the
mechanisms of deterioration and dysfunction in nerve
cells in the developing and adult brain.
Namos GmbH (previously BoneMaster)
was founded in 1998 on the basis of research results
from Dresden University of Technology. With the help
of a Federal Government project to support new business
start-ups, a process for coating bone implants was
developed and brought to production. Since 2002,
Namos GmbH has been developing surface coatings whose
properties have been considerably improved with the
help of nanostructures.
The Dresden Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic
Technologies and Systems (IKTS) came
into being in 1992. The central themes of its research
are developments in materials, processes and components
in the fields of structural ceramics, functional
ceramics and carbides. In this research great importance
is placed on the targeted development of microstructures
and interfaces. The IKTS has long experience in
the manufacture, characterisation and processing
of nanoscale powders.
The scientists of the UFZ Centre for Environmental
Research (Umweltforschungszentrum Leipzig-Halle)
study the complex interactions between humans and
the environment in cultivated and damaged landscapes.
They develop concepts and processes to help secure
the natural foundations of human life for future
The UFZ has around 800 employees and is a member of the Helmholtz Association which,
with 15 research centres and an annual budget of around 2.2 billion Euro, is
Germany's largest scientific research community. The 24,000 employees of the
Helmholtz Association undertake research in the fields of structure of matter,
earth and environment, transport and space, health, energy and key technologies.
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