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Title of Presentation: Exposure Sensitivity to Polymer-Based Nanoparticles

PI: Robert A. Latour, Ph.D., Department of Bioengineering
Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634

Ya-Ping Sun, Professor of Chemistry, Clemson University
Fred J. Stutzenberger, Professor of Microbiology, Clemson University
Jeremy Tzeng, Lecturer in Microbiology, Clemson University
Jesse Grimes, Professor of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University

It is well known in the field of biomaterials that the biological response to sub-micron sized particles of an implanted polymeric material can induce severe adverse biological responses that are not induced by the same material in bulk form. On the other hand, living systems (e.g. plants, insects, fish, animals, and humans) are exposed to nanoparticles in the form of dust, pollen, spores, etc. from a very wide variety of both natural and synthetic sources every day, usually without serious adverse responses. Thus, while its seems that there is nothing inherently problematic with regards to the presence of nano-sized particles in the environment, there certainly is the potential for serious environmental problems related to specific formulations of nanoparticles due to the manner in which their specific chemistry and/or physical structure may interact with a specific biological system. In our research program, we are developing biofunctionalized polystyrene-based nanoparticles as non-antibiotic-based antibacterial agents for food safety issues relevant to the poultry industry. As part of this overall USDA sponsored program, we are evaluating the exposure sensitivity of our nanoparticles using both in vitro cell toxicity assays and in vivo assays for ingestion and inhalation and contact with the skin and eyes. An overview of these studies will be presented along with preliminary results, which have thus far not shown any adverse cellular or tissue responses to our particular nanoparticle formulations.

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