Researchers Find Quantum Dots to Be Biodegradable by Human Enzymes

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Researchers Find Quantum Dots to Be Biodegradable by Human Enzymes

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In a study recently conducted by Graphene Flagship, a large European initiative, in collaboration with the University of Strasbourg and CNRS, France and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has revealed graphene quantum dots to be biodegradable by two of the enzymes found within the human body, according to Graphene Info.

Graphene quantum dots, (GQDs for short) are tiny five-nanometer flakes that are florescent, and able to penetrate cells. These properties give [GQDs] many uses within bioimaging, biosensing, and other therapies, to name a few.

Although medically very powerful, without biodegradable properties the foreign molecules and materials being put into the body could have unintended health consequences. To attempt to fix this problem, the researchers attempted exposing these GQDs to human enzymes.

Albert Bionco said the following: “We used two human enzymes, myeloperoxidase and eosinophil peroxidase, to prove that graphene quantum dots are biodegradable,” Suprisingly, the GQDs became less fluorescent after the exposure, signalling a breakdown. “These enzymes take part in a cycle that generates reactive oxygen species, which react with the graphene material and ultimately decomposes it,” he adds.

This discovery is possible revolutionary, and could allow for easier and safer access to GQD based treatments globally.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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