Paper of the Month: October Edition
Tackling plastic pollution is one of the great challenges of our times. Over a quarter million tonnes of plastic are present on the world's surface ocean waters (OurWorldinData.org) and media reminds us regularly of this issue with unsettling photographs that document plastic waste floating on open water taking its toll on marine wildlife. However, in terms of particle count, plastic in surface ocean waters is dominated by particles invisible to the naked eye, and it is this micro- and nanoplastic which has the most severe ecological impact.
Upon interaction with biological interfaces, the toxicity of nanoplastics is fundamentally caused by the formation of biological complexes around the plastic particles. This study aimed at a better understanding of the plastic properties that govern such interactions, exemplified by protein coronae formed by HSA or lysozyme on the surface of polystyrene particles. A combined approach using small-angle neutron scattering, dynamic light scattering and Chirascan CD spectroscopy showed that protein conformational changes for hard corona complexes were more significant upon interaction with smaller particles as compared with larger particles
Kihara, Ghosh, McDougall, Whitten, Mata, Köper, and McGillivray. 2020. “Structure of Soft and Hard Protein Corona around Polystyrene Nanoplastics—Particle Size and Protein Types.” Biointerphases 15: 051002.
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