Nanoparticles and toxicology
Nanomaterials (NMs) used in applications are typically described
as nanoparticles (NPs) or nanotubes (NTs). Their small size causes
physico-chemical properties, which differ from those of other
materials. To date, their environmental effects are largely unknown
and little studied.
Nanotechnology is a rapidly developing field attracting
significant investment from industry and governments, who want to
ensure regulatory compliance with relevant legislative regimes.
As environmental scientists we want to understand the
toxicity, fate, and environmental effects of nanomaterials prior to
their use in products and subsequent release into the
Our scientists have developed a "tiered" testing approach. This
initially screens particles for cellular toxicity using cultured
cells. We then use standardised,
OECD invertebrate ecotoxicology tests (eg, using the the
freshwater crustacean, Daphnia magna). Finally,
environmentally relevant fish species - eg, sticklebacks
(Gasterosteus aculeatus) - are used to assess a range
of toxicogenomics, histopathological and behavioural endpoints to
address regulatory safety and compliance.