Processing nanoparticles with A4F-SAXS for toxicological studies: Iron oxide in cell-based assays
Nanoparticles are not typically ready-to-use for in vitro cell culture assays. Prior to their use in assays, powder samples containing nanoparticles must be dispersed, de-agglomerated, fractionated by size, and characterized with respect to size and size distribution. For this purpose we report exemplarily on polyphosphate-stabilized iron oxide nanoparticles in aqueous suspension. Fractionation and online particle size analysis was performed in a time-saving procedure lasting 50min by combining asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation (A4F) and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). Narrowly distributed nanoparticle fractions with radii of gyration (R(g)) from 7 to 21nm were obtained from polydisperse samples. The A4F-SAXS combination is introduced for the preparation of well-characterized sample fractions originating from a highly polydisperse system as typically found in engineered nanoparticles. A4F-SAXS processed particles are ready-to-use for toxicological studies. The results of preliminary tests of the effects of fractionated iron oxide nanoparticles with a R(g) of 15nm on a human colon model cell line are reported.