Dispersion and Stability Optimization of TiO2 Nanoparticles in Cell Culture Media

Accurate evaluation of engineered nanomaterial toxicity requires not only comprehensive physical−chemical characterization of nanomaterials as produced, but also thorough understanding of nanomaterial properties and behavior under conditions similar to those used for in vitro and in vivo toxicity studies. In this investigation, TiO2 nanoparticles were selected as a model nanoparticle and bovine serum albumin (BSA) was selected as a model protein for studying the effect of protein−nanoparticle interaction on TiO2 nanoparticle dispersion in six different mammalian, bacteria, and yeast cell culture media. Great improvement in TiO2 dispersion was observed upon the addition of BSA, even though the degree of dispersion varied from medium to medium and phosphate concentration in the cell culture media was one of the key factors governing nanoparticle dispersion. Fetal bovine serum (FBS) was an effective dispersing agent for TiO2 nanoparticles in all six media due to synergistic effects of its multiple protein components, successfully reproduced using a simple “FBS mimic” protein cocktail containing similar concentrations of BSA, γ-globulin, and apo-transferrin.