By Will Soutter
In a paper, ‘Dendrimer-fullerenol soft-condensed nanoassembly,’ reported in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, researchers from Clemson University and their collaborators have demonstrated the way of using dendrimer, a soft nanomaterial, to protect the environment against potentially toxic nanomaterials.
The researchers utilized fullerenol as a model system. Fullerenol is a 60-carbon molecule in the form of a buckyball functionalized with hydroxyl groups. This assembly also holds potential for drug delivery. The scientists discovered that the fullerenol and dendrimer assemblies were spontaneous, robust, and thermodynamically favorable at ambient pressure and temperature and neutral water pH. In this paper, the researchers described a proof-of-concept on the utilization of a benign dendritic technology as an environmental remediation solution for discharged nanomaterials and a robust drug delivery system.
Dendrimers, which are highly branched polymeric macromolecules, demonstrate a superior level of surface functionalities. Their branching concludes their generation number (G). Higher generation number means greater degree of surface functionalities. The researchers utilized G1 and G4 poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers and discovered that these dendrimers comprised one fullerenol per primary amine on the surfaces of the dendrimers. Nevertheless, the fullerenols hosted by G4 PAMAM dendrimers was 40 folds better when compared to G1, thanks to their higher level of surface functionalities. On the basis of their findings, the researchers suggested suitable loading capacities of fullerenols for G1 and G4 dendrimers in environmental remediation and drug delivery applications.
A research group headed by Dr. Pu-Chun Ke and financially supported by the National Science Foundation has explored a frontier research topic ‘nanoparticle-protein corona.’ The group, through partnership between Dr. Ke and Dr. David Ladner from the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at Clemson University and funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is also exploring the use of dendritic polymers for oil spill remediation.