NANO-ECOTOXICITY Ecotoxicity of metal nanoparticles in soils

Country: EU Projects
Start Date:   2/5/2011         Duration: 24 months         Project Type: RTD
Contract Number: 
Organisation Type:  EC Project
Contaminated land-->Contaminants-->Others
Diffuse pollution-->Contaminants-->Pesticides
Soil-->Soil quality
Project objectives:
The project's main objectives are to assess the toxicity of metal nanoparticles in soils in the short and long term; the main route of exposure for earthworms 
and whether it differs from those of ionic metals; and, finally, the influence of the exposure media on metal nanoparticle toxicity.
Project Summary:
As a consequence of the increasing production of nanomaterials and subsequent release, there is increasing concern about their possible side effects in the 
environment. Due to their small size, nanoparticles (NPs) are more reactive than related non-nano materials and thus new biological effects may be expected.
Metal NPs are being detected in the environment, and observations on uptake and adverse effects in organisms have already been described in the literature.
Little data however, exist on the effects of NPs in soil. This study deals with the toxicity of metal NPs to soil-dwelling organisms with the aim of linking their
fate and effects in terrestrial ecosystems. The work will be based on case studies with ZnO and Ag NPs, representing different fate kinetics. Toxicity tests
will be performed to evaluate the effect of ZnO and Ag NPs on the earthworm Eisenia andrei and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, using different soil types
(e.g. ranges of properties influencing metal binding capacity) and different ageing conditions. Measurement of toxicokinetics and exposure will help to
unravel the main routes of uptake of metal NPs in these organisms. A full characterization of properties, fate and behaviour of metal NPs in soil will be essential
to properly link exposure and effects. For that purpose, the training programme will put great emphasis on gaining and expanding knowledge on the fate of metal
NPs in soil and uptake in organisms. This will require training in new techniques for detecting and characterizing metal NPs in different matrices, including
soil, pore water and biological tissues. Metal speciation modelling will be learned to enable linking NP fate to bioavailability and toxic effects. Training
will also include learning new ecotoxicological methods and modelling biological effects to address how NPs cause their effect on tissues. This training
will be obtained through the host institution and its contacts.
Achieved Objectives:
Earthworms exposed to silver nanoparticles for 28 days accumulated higher silver concentrations than earthworms exposed to silver ions, without the excess 
silver from the nanoparticles having a toxic effect. Moreover, soil ingestion was identified as the main route of exposure to AgNP and ZnONP in earthworms.
Product Descriptions:

Additional Information:
Project Resources:
Funding Programme(s): 
EC FP7: Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.
Link to Organisations:
Submitted by: EUGRIS Team Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?  24/09/2013 15:02:00