B Woodhams, L Ansel-Bollepalli, J Surmacki, H Knowles, L Maggini, M de Volder, M Atatüre, S Bohndiek
Nanodiamonds have demonstrated potential as powerful sensors in biomedicine, however, their translation into routine use requires a comprehensive understanding of their effect on the biological system being interrogated. Under normal fabrication processes, nanodiamonds are produced with a graphitic carbon shell, but are often oxidized in order to modify their surface chemistry for targeting to specific cellular compartments. Here, we assessed the biological impact of this purification process, considering cellular proliferation, uptake, and oxidative stress for graphitic and oxidized nanodiamond surfaces. We show for the first time that oxidized nanodiamonds possess improved biocompatibility compared to graphitic nanodiamonds in breast cancer cell lines, with graphitic nanodiamonds inducing higher levels of oxidative stress despite lower uptake.