Currently, there are few studies that deal with the ecotoxicological potential of nanocellulose. Nanocellulose possesses antimicrobial properties, i.e. the growth of bacteria and fungi is effectively suppressed.


This effect is due to the strong binding of the cellulose fibers to water, which thus is removed from the environment [1]. If, however, sufficient water for bacterial growth is present, microorganisms can also be used for the production of nanocellulose. The enzymatic activity of bacteria and fungi is used for the secession of single nano-cellulose fibers from the complex networks of naturally occurring cellulose.

In the luminescent bacteria test nanocellulose caused no acute toxicity, even though high concentrations were used. A no observed effect concentration (NOEC) of ≥ 100 mg/l was derived. However, nanocellulose fibers limited the movement of water fleas. This effect is due to the non-uniform distribution of fibers in water and is purely mechanical in nature. There is no evidence of a direct toxic effect of nanocellulose [2].

After a comprehensive toxicological characterisation of nano-crystalline cellulose in nine aquatic species (including fish, water fleas, algae) of various stages of development and in a rainbow trout liver cell line, no harmful potential to aquatic inhabitants was identified [3]. There was no, or only a low toxicity observed in experiments.


Literatur arrow down

  1. Wikipedia (EN) : Nanocellulose (last access date: Jul 2011).
  2. Vartiainen, J et al. (2011), Cellulose, 18(3): 775-786.
  3. Kovacs, T et al. (2010), Nanotoxicology, 4(3): 255-270.


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