Biosafety of nanomaterials

Recently, a variety of functionalized nanomaterials have been developed due to their extensive potential within different fields of applications. The composition and chemical properties of these materials have become increasingly complex, leading to major concerns over their biosafety. Even though nanoparticle toxicity can be predicted according to its size, shape, chemical composition, and surface charge each single functionalized nanomaterial interacts with biological systems in a specific way, that must be adequately investigated. It is therefore imperative to submit newly developed nanomaterials to in vitro and in vivo tests in order to foresee their toxicological potential during the early design process, minimizing the risks of injury throughout the following developmental phases (Safe-by-design). Nowadays, a number of different platforms are available to assess nanotoxicity, ranging from in vitro 2D and 3D cell culture assays to vertebrate models. Although rodents are still the most common in vivo models to assess the health risk of nanomaterials, zebrafish is now being increasingly employed as a powerful alternative, due to financial, ethical and biological reasons.