Recent Published Articles

Facet-dependent transformation and toxicity of nanoscale zinc oxide in the synthetic saliva


Yawei Wang , Xiang Zhang , Yunpeng Huang , Jikun Wang , Jie Tang , Yang Mei , Nali Zhu , Zhigang Li , Lingxiangyu Li

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2023.05.033

Received March 29, 2023,Revised , Accepted May 23, 2023, Available online May 30, 2023

Volume 36,2024,Pages 170-181

The nanoscale zinc oxide (n-ZnO) was used in food packages due to its superior antibacterial activity, resulting in potential intake of n-ZnO through the digestive system, wherein n-ZnO interacted with saliva. In recent, facet engineering, a technique for controlling the exposed facets, was applied to n-ZnO, whereas risk of n-ZnO with specific exposed facets in saliva was ignored. ZnO nanoflakes (ZnO-0001) and nanoneedles (ZnO-1010) with the primary exposed facets of {0001} and {1010} respectively were prepared in this study, investigating stability and toxicity of ZnO-0001 and ZnO-1010 in synthetic saliva. Both ZnO-0001 and ZnO-1010 partially transformed into amorphous Zn3(PO4)2 within 1 hr in the saliva even containing orgnaic components, forming a ZnO-Zn3(PO4)2 core-shell structure. Nevertheless, ZnO-1010 relative to ZnO-0001 would likely transform into Zn3(PO4)2, being attributed to superior dissolution of {1010} facet due to its lower vacancy formation energy (1.15 eV) than {0001} facet (3.90 eV). The toxicity of n-ZnO to Caco-2 cells was also dependent on the primary exposed facet; ZnO-0001 caused cell toxicity through oxidative stress, whereas ZnO-1010 resulted in lower cells viability than ZnO-0001 through oxidative stress and membrane damage. Density functional theory calculations illustrated that ·O2 was formed and released on {1010} facet, yet O22− instead of ·O2 was generated on {0001} facet, leading to low oxidative stress from ZnO-0001. All findings demonstrated that stability and toxicity of n-ZnO were dependent on the primary exposed facet, improving our understanding of health risk of nanomaterials.

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