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A few things have come up recently regarding the MINChar website that I thought were worth mentioning:

  • Some people would like to be listed as part of the MINChar Interest Group, but would rather not post a comment to that effect.  This is fine – if you fall into this category, please send me an email at, and I’ll add you to the list.
  • It’s also been mentioned that email updates on additions to the website would be helpful.  I’m working on this – stay tuned.
  • Finally, I would love to see others post blogs on ideas, information, concerns that they feel would be interesting or useful regarding nanomaterial characterization.  If you would like to be a contributor, simply drop me an email and I will sign you up with an account.



Something that it would be good to see this website used for is an exchange between instrument manufacturers and users – both to help people realize what is available (together with the abilities and limitations of devices), and to help manufacturers get a better handle on what researchers etc. are looking for.

Bob Carr from NanoSight has just posted a comment on their product for sizing nanoparticles in liquid suspensions – it would be great if other manufacturers felt free to share information, and users to share experiences.

I would add that Bob was reticent to post anything for fear of it sounding too much like a commercial – and only did so after asking whether I thought it was appropriate. Speaking to several people, it seemed that the information that could be gained from an informal dialogue with instrument manufacturers would most likely far outweigh any fears of inappropriate advertising. That said, it seems that some guidelines might be helpful for such a dialogue. These are my suggestions for guidelines – they are in no way binding, and are open to being modified, but hopefully will underpin useful exchange of information:

  1. Instrument manufacturers should feel free to post information on products and techniques that are relevant to nanomaterial characterization in toxicology studies, as long as the information is accurate, applicable, and useful to readers. Blatant advertising should be avoided.
  2. Manufacturers posting information should be prepared to field questions about their products and how to use them to obtain good data.
  3. Instrument users (and potential users) should be free to question manufacturers on their instruments and their use. However, unfounded and unhelpful criticism of instruments/manufacturers/suppliers is strongly discouraged.

If there’s enough interest in exchanging information here, I’ll look at setting up a separate page on this website for the dialogue.



cnt-handling-smallThis week’s issue of C&E News has a great article on the MINChar initiative by Britt Erickson.

You can access the article here

(Note: the article is from Volume 86, Number 50, pp. 25-26 (Dec 15 2008).  C&E News is a publication of the American Chemical Society.  This link is provided with the permission of ACS, and does not infer any rights to the article.  For example, the article may not be linked to or otherwise distributed without express permission from ACS)

Just as a taster, two quotes from the article:

Clayton Teague, director of the National nanotechnology Coordination Office:

“There is a great need for improved characterization of the nanomaterials used in toxicity studies. Everyone recognizes that the materials used in many of the earlier studies were not adequately characterized, and some of the conclusions should not have been drawn,” says E. Clayton Teague, director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, which coordinates federal nanotechnology R&D activities.

Kristen Kulinowski, director of ICON:

Kristen M. Kulinowski, director of the International Council on Nanotechnology at Rice University, agrees. “All of these allied efforts, each doing something a little bit different, will someday advance the quality of nanotechnology-risk-relevant research and help decision-making at the policy level,” she says.

At the October 28-29 workshop, a number of criteria and recommendations formed the basis of discussions on a minimum set of characterization parameters for nanotoxicology studies.

This presentation (PDF, 284 KB) put together by Nigel Walker (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences), Richard Pleus (Intertox Inc) and Richard Canady (FDA) provided a starting point for discussions.


Comparison of possible parameters from ISO, OECD, NIST, Warheit and Ray. Excepted from the presentation.

Attendees at the Oct 28-29 workshop, held in Washington DC, included:

Andrew Atkinson, Environment Canada
Barbara Beck, Gradient Corporation
Darrell Boverhof,Dow
Rick Canady, FDA
Shaun Clancy, ISO
Vicki Colvin, Rice University
Ray David, BASF
Britt Erickson, ACS
Gregory Fritz, EPA
Bill Gulledge, ACC
Mark Hoover, NIOSH
Fred Klaessig, Pennsylvania Bio Nano Systems, LLC
Steve Klaine, Clemson University
Kristen Kulinowski, Rice University
Daniel Chuantung Lin, EPA
Igor Linkov, US Army
Laurie Locascio, NIST
Chris Long, Gradient Corporation
Martha Marrapese, Keller and Heckman
Andrew Maynard, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Jeff Morris, EPA/ORD
Vladimir Murashov, NIOSH
Anil Patri, NIH
Rick Pleus, ISO
Mike Postek, NIST
Ashutosh Riswadkar, Zurich North America
Aaron Roberts, University of North Texas
Steve Roberts, University of Florida
Nora Savage, EPA
Ralph Sturgeon, National Research Center
Canada Geoff Sunahara, National Research Center Canada
Clayton Teague, National Nanotechnology Coordination Office
Sally Tinkle, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Nigel Walker, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Angela R. Hight Walker, NIST
Karen Weinch, BASF
Mark Weisner, Duke University
Jim Willis, EPA

Welcome to the Minimum Information for Nanomaterial Characterization Initiative.

This is a community initiative to improve the level of materials characterization in nanotoxicology studies.  It aims to complement other activities by encouraging the adoption of a minimum set of physical and chemical material characterization parameters in nanotoxicology studies.

Development of an organized approach to documenting critical characterization parameters is also seen as being of benefit to related activities such as nano-manufacturing and materials science.

The recommended parameters, developed at a workshop held in Washington DC between Oct 28-29 2008, can be found here.

These are designed to complement recommendations from other groups that include ISO and OECD.  And as they are a minimum set of parameters, it is anticipated that they will at some point be superseded.

But in the meantime, it is hoped that their widespread adoption and use within the nanotoxicology community will encourage a culture of more robust physical and chemical nanomaterial characterization, that enables better research interpretation and comparison.

As this is a community initiative, it stands or falls by the buy-in it receives from within the nanotechnology community.  You can become associated with the initiative by signing up on the Join The Community page.

Thank you.

Lead organizers:

Darrell Boverhof, The Dow Chemical Company
Shaun Clancy, Evonik Industries
Vicki Colvin, ICON
Ray David, BASF Corporation
Mark Hoover, NIOSH
Steve Klaine, Clemson University
Andrew Maynard, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Nigel Walker, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
David Warheit, DuPont