Determining nanomaterial risk with the aid of real-time with electronic cell-substrate impedance sensing (ECIS)

H. van der Walt, A. Skepu, L. Sikhwivhilu
South Africa

Keywords: nanotechnology, Nanomaterials, Nanotoxicity, Electronic Cell-substrate Impedance Sensing (ECIS)


As the incorporation of nanoparticles and nanomaterials into nano-enabled products is ever increasing, looking at the risk of these materials, during synthesis/production, use and eventual disposal, has become a critical issue. Numerous reports have shown that the use of normal colorimetric cytotoxicity assays to determine toxicity, is ineffective with limited reproducibility, due to the coloured nature of a large number of nanomaterials. An exciting development towards analysing the toxicity of these nanoparticles in real-time, with the use of gold electrodes and the study of impedance, have led to greater clarity, on not only the toxicity, but the toxicological profile of the various types of nanomaterials. The NicTox™ facility, situated at Mintek, South Africa, investigates the risk of the copious amounts of nanomaterials and nano-enabled products produced at the Nanotechnology Innovation Centre, with the assistance of real-time electronic cell-substance impedance sensing.