• Article

Endotoxin contamination of engineered nanomaterials

Endotoxin has established health impacts and may be a potential confounding factor in toxicity studies of engineered nanomaterials (ENM). We aimed to characterize endotoxin contamination for a representative set of carbon-based ENM. The established method for quantifying endotoxin relies on its activity in a complex biochemical assay system. Because of their physical and chemical properties, measurement of endotoxin associated with many ENM presents non-trivial technical challenges. We have made progress in identifying and implementing methods for ENM analysis with respect to endotoxin content, revealing varying levels of endotoxin contamination in the ENM examined here. The physical association of ENM and endotoxin and their shared physiological effects suggest the possibility that contaminating endotoxin may contribute to the toxicity that is ascribed to ENM. We found in this small number of samples that endotoxin levels were not related to type of ENM or surface area but may be introduced randomly during manufacture.


Esch, R., Han, L., Foarde, K., & Ensor, D. (2010). Endotoxin contamination of engineered nanomaterials. Nanotoxicology, 4(1), 73-83.