Potential Environmental and Health Implications from the Scaled-Up Production and Disposal of Nanomaterials Used in Biosensors

Kelli M. McCourt, Jarad Cochran, Sabah M. Abdelbasir, Elizabeth R. Carraway, Tzuen Rong J. Tzeng, Olga V. Tsyusko, Diana C. Vanegas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Biosensors often combine biological recognition elements with nanomaterials of varying compositions and dimensions to facilitate or enhance the operating mechanism of the device. While incorporating nanomaterials is beneficial to developing high-performance biosensors, at the stages of scale-up and disposal, it may lead to the unmanaged release of toxic nanomaterials. Here we attempt to foster connections between the domains of biosensors development and human and environmental toxicology to encourage a holistic approach to the development and scale-up of biosensors. We begin by exploring the toxicity of nanomaterials commonly used in biosensor design. From our analysis, we introduce five factors with a role in nanotoxicity that should be considered at the biosensor development stages to better manage toxicity. Finally, we contextualize the discussion by presenting the relevant stages and routes of exposure in the biosensor life cycle. Our review found little consensus on how the factors presented govern nanomaterial toxicity, especially in composite and alloyed nanomaterials. To bridge the current gap in understanding and mitigate the risks of uncontrolled nanomaterial release, we advocate for greater collaboration through a precautionary One Health approach to future development and a movement towards a circular approach to biosensor use and disposal.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1082
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • concentration
  • dimensionality
  • life cycle
  • nanocomposite
  • nanomaterial
  • nanotoxicity
  • surface chemistry
  • toxicity
  • transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Potential Environmental and Health Implications from the Scaled-Up Production and Disposal of Nanomaterials Used in Biosensors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this