Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Biological Measurement Protocols

gold positive control

The development of robust measurement protocols to reproducibly and accurately measure the biological properties of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) is critical to the development and use of ENMs and nanotechnology–enabled products (NEPs) for medical applications. Such protocols are also essential to assess potential hazards to humans, animals, and organisms. Specific needs for tools to evaluate biological responses to ENMs in environmental and biological media are presented on p. 13 and in Chapters 4 and 5 of the 2011 National Nanotechnology Initiative Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Strategy.

Nanoparticles in a cell

Numerous factors make the development of reproducible and robust biological measurement protocols for ENMs challenging. ENMs may undergo transformations such as dissolution, agglomeration, and oxidation during the course of an experiment, complicating interpretation of the results. ENMs are also known to cause artifacts in many biological assays by means such as adsorbing assay reagents or producing a signal (e.g., fluorescence or absorbance) similar to the signal of the measurand of interest. Multiple experimental controls may be required to distinguish between the inherent biological variability of a test system (e.g., cells and organisms) and additional variability caused by biological responses of a test system to ENMs.

The following is a list of biological protocols:  

Return to Nano-Measurement Protocols Homepage

Created February 20, 2015, Updated December 6, 2017