Black Phosphorus Cytotoxicity Assessments Pitfalls: Advantages and Disadvantages of Metabolic and Morphological Assays

Michaela Fojtů, Jan Balvan, Martina Raudenská, Tomáš Vičar, Daniel Bouša, Zdeněk Sofer, Michal Masařík, Martin Pumera

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Black phosphorus (BP) belongs to a group of 2D nanomaterials and nowadays attracts constantly increasing attention. Parallel to the growing utilization of BP nanomaterial increase also the requirements for the thorough comprehension of its potential impact on human and animal health. The aim of this study was to compare and discuss five assays commonly used for the cytotoxicity assessments of nanomaterials with a special focus on BP nanoparticles. A comprehensive survey of factors and pitfalls is provided that should be accounted for when assessing their toxicity and pointed to their inconsistency. BP might introduce various levels of interference during toxicity assessments depending on its concentration applied. More importantly, the BP toxicity evaluation was found to be influenced by the nature of assay chosen. These are based on different principles and do not have to assess all the cellular events equally. A commercial assay based on the measurement of protease activity was identified to be the most suitable for the BP toxicity assessment. Further, the benefit of time-lapse quantitative phase imaging for nanomaterial toxicity evaluation was highlighted. Unlike the conventional assessments it provides real-time analysis of the processes accompanying BP administration and enables to understand them deeper and in the context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-360
Number of pages12
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by grants from the Czech Science Foundation (18-24089S and 17-11456S). Z.S. and D.B. were supported by specific university research (MSMT No. 20-SVV/2018). M.F. was supported also by Grant Agency of Masar- yk University (MUNI/A/1157/2017). This work was supported by the project Advanced Functional Nanorobots (reg. No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000444 financed by the EFRR). Further, we would like to acknowledge Dr. Petr Benesˇ and Tereza Kucˇírkov# from the Faculty of Science, Masaryk University for their kind help with the flow cytometry measurement.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry

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