micro-spheres-000004984096_580x200Being involved with the NanoSight products gives us visibility over a wide range of research areas that have a direct benefit to science and humanity. It is quite exciting to feel we are contributing to advancing science in these fields.

I was prompted to do a quick review of recent publications to see where NanoSight systems are being used after reading a recent article by Lara Aqrawi on characterizing extracellular vesicles in tears and saliva as a non-invasive diagnostic method for primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS) patients. Nanoparticle tracking analysis was conducted to determine size distribution and concentration of EVs[1].

GG Scholar NanoSightNanoSight instruments contribute to such a wide range of scientific endeavors that I wanted to see what topics are being covered besides extracellular vesicles (EV), otherwise known as exosomes or microvesicles. As NanoSight is ubiquitous in this field there are 4,950 scientific publications according to Google Scholar.

There has been increasing coverage of the release of plastics into the environment as well as the degradation of plastic materials into nano-sized particles. A recent article from Scott Lambert used Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) to characterize the formation of degraded plastic nanoparticles from a polystyrene (PS) disposable coffee cup lid. The NTA results show a change in the size profile but more importantly an increase in the concentration over time[2].

A presentation at the (ATS) American Thoracic Society 2016 International Conference by Einat Klein used NanoSight measurements to show that ultrafine particle (0.1µm) content in exhaled breath condensate of COPD patients is decreased by active smoking[3].  This was related to further work by the same team on effects of smoking on the development of silicosis among workers exposed to stone dust[4]. In both cases, NTA was used to provide size and concentration results for the ultrafine particle fractions.

Characterization of gold nanoparticle synthesis and lipid coating thickness was the topic of a poster from Victoria Wood. The size measurements by NTA, combined with UV-Vis data, allowed for a complete characterization of both core size and a measure of the coating thickness. Multiple stages were tested including the PAH coating and subsequent growth of additional lipid layers[5].

Extracellular phycofabrication (synthesis by algae) of silver nanoparticles was characterized by several techniques including NTA in a paper by Harsha Pinjarkar. The algae reduced silver ions present in the water to create the particles, potentially offering a rapid and eco-friendly approach for silver nanoparticle synthesis[6].

Increasing attention is being turned to various water treatment processes, both to create drinking water and for waste streams. A recent study by Lies Eykens looked at the effect of surfactants and oil on membrane distillation performance. NanoSight data was used to characterize the emulsion droplets used to challenge the membranes, which are a promising development for desalinization and waste treatment[7].

There are so many papers worthy of mention, but it was an enlightening perusal of how we can contribute useful information in so many fields of research.


  1. Aqrawi, L. A., Galtung, H. K., Vestad, B., Øvstebø, R., Thiede, B., Rusthen, S., … Jensen, J. L. (2017). Identification of potential saliva and tear biomarkers in primary Sjögren’s syndrome, utilising the extraction of extracellular vesicles and proteomics analysis. Arthritis Research & Therapy, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13075-017-1228-x
  2. Lambert, S., & Wagner, M. (2016). Characterisation of nanoplastics during the degradation of polystyrene. Chemosphere, 145, 265–268. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2015.11.078
  3. Einat Fireman Klein, Elad Schiff, Yochai Adir, Anat Amital, Asaf Jacobi,Sonia Schneer, Michal Shteinberg, Elizabeth Fireman, Aharon Kessel (2016). Ultrafine Particles (UFPs) Content in Exhaled Breath Condensate (EBC) of COPD Patients Is Decreased by Active Smoking. ATS Journals, B42. COPD: BIOMARKERS. May 1, 2016A3497-A3497. http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/ajrccm-conference.2016.193.1_MeetingAbstracts.A3497
  4. Ophir, N., Bar Shai, A., Alcalay, Y., Schwarz, Y., Korenstein, R., Kremer, M. R., & Fireman, E. (2016). Smoking has a protective effects on functional and inflammatory parameters in workers exposed to artificial stone dust. In 6.2 Occupational and Environmental Health. European Respiratory Society. https://doi.org/10.1183/13993003.congress-2016.pa4281
  5. Wood, Victoria J.; Munjar, Christopher W.; and Gilbert, Brian D., “Lipid Coated Gold Nanoparticle Cores: Synthesis and Characterization” (2016). Linfield College Student Symposium: A Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Achievement. Event. Submission 9.
  6. Pinjarkar, H., Gaikwad, S., P. Ingle, A., Gade, A., & Rai, M. (2016). Phycofabrication Of Silver Nanoparticles And Their Antibacterial Activity Against Human Pathogens. Advanced Materials Letters, 7(12), 1010–1014. https://doi.org/10.5185/amlett.2016.6269
  7. Eykens, L., De Sitter, K., Dotremont, C., De Schepper, W., Pinoy, L., & Van Der Bruggen, B. (2017). Wetting Resistance of Commercial Membrane Distillation Membranes in Waste Streams Containing Surfactants and Oil. Applied Sciences, 7(2), 118. https://doi.org/10.3390/app7020118