Jae-Hong Kim talks with
ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about
this month's Fast Breaking Paper in the field of
Article Title: Natural organic matter stabilizes
carbon nanotubes in the aqueous phase
Authors: Hyung, H;Fortner, JD;Hughes,
Journal: ENVIRON SCI TECHNOL
Year: JAN 1 2007
* Georgia Inst Technol, Sch Civil & Environm Engn, 200
Bobby Dodd Way, Atlanta, GA 30332 USA.
(addresses have been truncated)
Why do you think your paper is highly
This paper answers one of the key questions regarding the fate of carbon
nanotubes in the natural aqueous environment, a timely subject considering
that there are widespread concerns regarding environmental implication of
Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or
synthesis of knowledge?
"Nanomaterials might enter into the
natural environment via previously unknown
The paper found that, despite its extremely hydrophobic nature, carbon
nanotubes might be dispersed in natural waterways due to interaction with
natural organic matter via a route that has not been considered in past
Would you summarize the significance of your paper in
Nanomaterials might enter into the natural environment via previously
unknown routes. As such, their environmental impact should be carefully
assessed for the sustainable development of nanotechnology.
How did you become involved in this research, and were
there any problems along the way?
Our group has been investigating carbon-based nanomaterials including
C60 and carbon nanotubes with respect to their environmental
implication, including chemical transformation, interaction with
microorganisms, etc. One of the challenges in these studies was the proper
method of quantification in the natural water matrix, which was solved by
introducing a new technique.
Where do you see your research leading in the
Many researchers in this field are currently studying the fate of various
nanomaterials in the natural environment and their interactions with
ecological systems. Our group is currently studying the interaction of
carbon nanomaterials with various environmental receptors, including
microorganisms and biological macromolecules. These collective efforts will
ultimately contribute to the environmentally sustainable development of
Do you foresee any social or political implications for
These and related findings should not raise false alarms. This study only
reports the "possibility." There seems to be no evidence of immediate
environmental threats related to the findings of this study.
Jae-Hong Kim, Ph.D.
Environmental Engineering Program
School of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA, USA
Keywords: carbon nanotubes natural aqueous environment,
nanomaterials, environmental impact, carbon-based nanomaterials,
environmental implication, chemical transformation, interaction with
microorganisms, natural water matrix, various nanomaterials, natural
environment, interactions with ecological systems, interaction of carbon
nanomaterials with various environmental receptors, microorganisms,