Elongated Mineral Particles and Health

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Mineralogy and Biogeochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (18 June 2022) | Viewed by 12870

Special Issue Editors

Department of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, 61029 Urbino, Italy
Interests: mineral fibers; zeolites; environmental mineralogy; risk assessment for mineral fibers; surface properties
Department of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, 61029 Urbino, Italy
Interests: mineralogy; petrology; geochemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The attention of scientists to mineral particles and fibers of inhalable size has increased significantly recently, due to their potential hazard for humans. Asbestos minerals (chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite, anthophyllite), fibrous antigorite and balangeroite, the amphiboles winchite, richterite, and fluoro-edenite, the zeolites erionite, offretite, ferrierite, and mordenite, and also talc and clay minerals such as sepiolite and palygorskite are of strong interest to the scientific community. Many factors play roles in their toxicity, but the most important are the particle size (length, diameter, relative ratio, and aerodynamic equivalent diameter) and their chemical composition.

This Special Issue aims to collect a broad overview of the research taking place on elongated minerals. A wide range of contributions is welcome: (i) Field sampling and geological survey of mineral particles and fibers, as well as rock containing such materials; (ii) mineralogical, chemical, and physical characterization; (iii) determination of surface properties; (iv) experimental determination of thermodynamic and kinetic parameters; (v) molecular and geochemical modeling; (vi) understanding and quantification of dissolution and growth mechanisms, both in water and in specific media (e.g., biological fluids); (vii) technological applications, with a special focus on the capability of mineral fibers to act as substrates for environmental remediation processes.

Dr. Matteo Giordani
Dr. Michele Mattioli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • mineral fibers
  • fibrous zeolite
  • elongated mineral particles
  • mesothelioma
  • toxicity

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 23757 KiB  
Article
Potential Toxicity of Natural Fibrous Zeolites: In Vitro Study Using Jurkat and HT22 Cell Lines
Minerals 2022, 12(8), 988; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12080988 - 03 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1360
Abstract
An emerging problem for human health is the exposure to non-regulated mineral fibers with an asbestos-like crystal habit, particularly fibrous zeolites. This study aimed to determine if and how selected fibrous zeolites (erionite, mesolite, and thomsonite) induce toxicity effects on two different in [...] Read more.
An emerging problem for human health is the exposure to non-regulated mineral fibers with an asbestos-like crystal habit, particularly fibrous zeolites. This study aimed to determine if and how selected fibrous zeolites (erionite, mesolite, and thomsonite) induce toxicity effects on two different in vitro cellular models, the adherent murine hippocampal (HT22) and human immortalized T lymphocyte (Jurkat) cell lines. Before proceeding with the cellular tests, the three zeolite samples were investigated using scanning electron microscopy–energy-dispersive spectroscopy and X-ray powder diffraction techniques. The cells were treated with 0.1 µM and 1 µM of fibrous erionite, mesolite, and thomsonite for 12, 24, and 48 h. Results showed a cytotoxic effect of erionite in both cellular models and revealed different toxic behaviors of the mesolite and thomsonite fibers, suggesting other potential mechanisms of action. The outcome of this study would be a first step for further research on fine biochemical interactions of zeolite fibers with cells and future in vivo investigations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Elongated Mineral Particles and Health)
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17 pages, 1776 KiB  
Article
Another Potentially Hazardous Zeolite from Northern Italy: Fibrous Mordenite
Minerals 2022, 12(5), 627; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12050627 - 14 May 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2115
Abstract
This study explored morphological, mineralogical, and physicochemical features of suspected toxic mordenite fibers from Northern Italy. All the mordenite samples (FAS1, GC1, SP1) show similar structural and chemical character, are Na-rich (Na > Ca > K), and the Al content decrease reflects the [...] Read more.
This study explored morphological, mineralogical, and physicochemical features of suspected toxic mordenite fibers from Northern Italy. All the mordenite samples (FAS1, GC1, SP1) show similar structural and chemical character, are Na-rich (Na > Ca > K), and the Al content decrease reflects the unit cell volumes in the series: FAS1 > SP1 > GC1. The aerodynamic diameter (Dae) values of the mordenite fibers are 1.19 μm for the GC1 sample, 2.69 μm for FAS1, and 3.91 μm for SP1. All the studied mordenite samples are characterized by “respirable” fibers despite the size differences, which could reach the deeper parts of the lungs. For this reason, fibrous mordenite could represent a potential health hazard and then need to be handled with attention, but further toxicity studies are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Elongated Mineral Particles and Health)
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24 pages, 3810 KiB  
Article
Fibrous Ferrierite from Northern Italy: Mineralogical Characterization, Surface Properties, and Assessment of Potential Toxicity
Minerals 2022, 12(5), 626; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12050626 - 14 May 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1856
Abstract
Nowadays, fibrous minerals pose as significant health hazards to humans, and exposure to these fibers can lead to the development of severe pulmonary diseases. This work investigated the morphology, crystal structure, chemistry, and surface activity of fibrous ferrierite recently found in northern Italy [...] Read more.
Nowadays, fibrous minerals pose as significant health hazards to humans, and exposure to these fibers can lead to the development of severe pulmonary diseases. This work investigated the morphology, crystal structure, chemistry, and surface activity of fibrous ferrierite recently found in northern Italy through an integrated approach using scanning electron microscopy–energy dispersive spectroscopy, electron microprobe, inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry, X-ray powder diffraction, and electron paramagnetic resonance. Our results show that a notable amount of ferrierite fibers are breathable (average length ~22 µm, average diameter 0.9 µm, diameter-length ratio >> 1:3) and able to reach the alveolar space (average Dae value 2.5 μm). The prevailing extra-framework cations are in the Mg > (Ca ≈ K) relationship, R is from 0.81 to 0.83, and the Si/Al ratio is high (4.2–4.8). The <T-O> bond distances suggest the occurrence of some degree of Si,Al ordering, with Al showing a site-specific occupation preference T1 > T2 > T3 > T4. Ferrierite fibers show high amounts of adsorbed EPR probes, suggesting a high ability to adsorb and interact with related chemicals. According to these results, fibrous ferrierite can be considered a potential health hazard, and a precautionary approach should be applied when this material is handled. Future in vitro and in vivo tests are necessary to provide further experimental confirmation of the outcome of this work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Elongated Mineral Particles and Health)
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24 pages, 2852 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Fibrous Wollastonite NYAD G in View of Its Use as Negative Standard for In Vitro Toxicity Tests
Minerals 2021, 11(12), 1378; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11121378 - 07 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2723
Abstract
Today, despite considerable efforts undertaken by the scientific community, the mechanisms of carcinogenesis of mineral fibres remain poorly understood. A crucial role in disclosing the mechanisms of action of mineral fibres is played by in vitro and in vivo models. Such models require [...] Read more.
Today, despite considerable efforts undertaken by the scientific community, the mechanisms of carcinogenesis of mineral fibres remain poorly understood. A crucial role in disclosing the mechanisms of action of mineral fibres is played by in vitro and in vivo models. Such models require experimental design based on negative and positive controls. Commonly used positive controls are amosite and crocidolite UICC standards, while negative controls have not been identified so far. The extensive characterisation and assessment of toxicity/pathogenicity potential carried out in this work indicate that the commercial fibrous wollastonite NYAD G may be considered as a negative standard control for biological and biomedical tests involving mineral fibres. Preliminary in vitro tests suggest that wollastonite NYAD G is not genotoxic. This material is nearly pure and is characterized by very long (46.6 µm), thick (3.74 µm) and non-biodurable fibres with a low content of metals. According to the fibre potential toxicity index (FPTI) model, wollastonite NYAD G is an inert mineral fibre that is expected to exert a low biological response during in vitro/in vivo testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Elongated Mineral Particles and Health)
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19 pages, 5285 KiB  
Article
Surface and Bulk Modifications of Fibrous Erionite in Mimicked Gamble’s Solution at Acidic pH
Minerals 2021, 11(9), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11090914 - 24 Aug 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1649
Abstract
This study aimed at investigating both the surface and bulk modifications occurring on fibrous erionite during leaching in a mimicked Gamble’s solution (MGS) at pH of 4.5 and T = 37 °C, up to one month of incubation. Samples were characterized by a [...] Read more.
This study aimed at investigating both the surface and bulk modifications occurring on fibrous erionite during leaching in a mimicked Gamble’s solution (MGS) at pH of 4.5 and T = 37 °C, up to one month of incubation. Samples were characterized by a multi-analytical approach: field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) was employed to investigate the morphological changes of both pristine and reacted fibres, inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) was used to measure the concentration of the released cations; X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) was exploited for highlighting possible modifications of surface chemistry; X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM) were applied aiming to get information on the structural state of the fibres following the incubation. ICP results integrated with those obtained by both bulk- and surface-chemical characterization highlighted that erionite binds Na especially in the first 24 h of sample incubation in the MGS, following ion exchange with the extra framework cations, in particular Ca. Moreover, our new results show that the Na binding process caused structural modifications with the migration of Na toward the Ca2 site and redistribution of the cations within the erionite cage. TEM investigation pointed out that the interaction between erionite and MGS results in the formation of a new surface amorphous layer with an irregular lobate pattern on an earlier surface weathered layer. However, the silicate framework is not weakened by incubation in the MGS at acidic pH. In addition, on the basis of the Si release normalized to the mineral surface area, fibrous erionite resulted significantly more biodurable than amphibole asbestos. Notably, considering the primary role played by biodurability in inducing pathogenicity, this result certainly supports in vivo observations showing that erionite is much more tumorigenic than asbestos. Moreover, the ions released by erionite when immersed in MGS may trigger biological effects, such as those on lipid packing and membrane permeability. On this basis, we expect a regulatory definition that would provide protection from this carcinogenic fibre. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Elongated Mineral Particles and Health)
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11 pages, 6452 KiB  
Article
Asbestos Fibers and Ferruginous Bodies Detected by VP-SEM/EDS in Colon Tissues of a Patient Affected by Colon-Rectum Cancer: A Case Study
Minerals 2021, 11(6), 658; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11060658 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2113
Abstract
The aim of this work was to inspect the presence of asbestos fibers in colon tissue from a patient, with history of indirect exposure to asbestos and affected by colon cancer, who underwent surgery. Variable pressure scanning electron microscopy, coupled with energy dispersive [...] Read more.
The aim of this work was to inspect the presence of asbestos fibers in colon tissue from a patient, with history of indirect exposure to asbestos and affected by colon cancer, who underwent surgery. Variable pressure scanning electron microscopy, coupled with energy dispersive spectroscopy (VP-SEM/EDS), was used for identification of inorganic fibers and for their morphological—chemical characterization. Fresh tissue samples from both, healthy area close to the neoplasia and from the neoplastic regions, were separately digested to eliminate the biological matrix. The precipitate was analyzed by VP-SEM/EDS, identifying in samples from healthy tissue asbestos bodies and small asbestos fibers, and in samples from neoplastic tissue long fibers of asbestos, free from covering. A quantification of the asbestos bodies and the free fibers in the two type of specimens is proposed. Moreover, to locate the fibers in the biological medium, histological sections from the colon of the same patient were also examined. Free asbestos fibers appeared concentrated in the tissue bridge between the healthy and the neoplastic areas. Immuno-histochemical investigation performed on the neoplasia seems to exclude a role of microsatellite instability in the carcinogenesis process, suggesting an influence of the fibers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Elongated Mineral Particles and Health)
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