Toxicity and Health Issues

Marja Pitkänen, Heli Kangas, Jari Vartiainen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter or book articleProfessional


Nanocelluloses, nano-sized starches and nano-structured chitins are among the most abundant renewable bio based nanomaterials. Due to their unique, nano-specific properties, they are promising materials for improving the performance of many future products. However, at the moment it is not well known how the nano-specific properties affect the safety of the bio based nanomaterials, which depends on many, still poorly understood factors that may affect the interactions of micro- and nanomaterials with cells and living organisms, as well as on the exposure route of bio based nanomaterials. Generally, bio based nanomaterials are considered as safe, due to their natural origin and the benign nature of their bulk forms. Results published so far on the safety of bio based nanomaterials have shown that materials are not generally toxic to humans or to the environment. However, they are not inert either and may have interactions with their surrounding environment. In addition, due to the great variation in the properties of bio based nanomaterials, the toxicity test results obtained are valid only for the samples tested. More research and knowledge of nanomaterials interactions with living organisms is needed before results from toxicity testing can be generalised, and currently, the safety of bio based nanomaterials must be assessed case by case.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Green Materials
Subtitle of host publicationProcessing Technologies, Properties and Applications, Vol 1. Bionanomaterials: separation processes, characterization and properties
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-4566-47-6
ISBN (Print)978-981-4566-45-2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeD2 Article in professional manuals or guides or professional information systems or text book material


  • nanocellulose
  • fibrillated cellulose
  • toxicity
  • cytotoxicity
  • genotoxicity
  • nano-sized cellulose fibrils
  • nano-sized starches
  • nano-structured chitins
  • safety
  • cellulose nanofibrils

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  • Cite this

    Pitkänen, M., Kangas, H., & Vartiainen, J. (2014). Toxicity and Health Issues. In Handbook of Green Materials: Processing Technologies, Properties and Applications, Vol 1. Bionanomaterials: separation processes, characterization and properties (pp. 181-205). World Scientific Publishing.