Manufactured nanoparticle bioavailability and environmental exposure (nanoBEE)

Lead Research Organisation: The Natural History Museum
Department Name: Earth Sciences


The nano-BEE consortia will develop and refine, using empirical data, a critical subset of models focused on exposure to nanomaterials (NMs) and their bioavailability in the environment. The objectives of this study are to (a) generate controlled and well-characterized NMs libraries for environmental assessment (b) prove that soft landed gold clusters provide suitable fiducial markers to enable angstrom resolution in aquatic tomography of NMs in environmental media (c) demonstrate that NM environmental modification processes can be classified by the extent of aggregation, dissolution and surface modification and to experimentally and computationally describe the partition of these modified NMs between environmental compartments (d) to develop modified biodynamic models for NM bioavailability that reflect both water and food exposures and (e) to validate biotic ligand models for NM effects on aquatic organisms. An integrated computational and experimental program will examine the environmental chemistry of manufactured NMs using electron microscopy, scattering techniques, and spectroscopy; use traceable NMs to quantify influx and efflux rates in model aquatic species, including in a trophic chain; and employ both conventional measures of toxicological endpoints as well as the latest molecular ('omics') methods to quantify biological effects as well as identify new mechanisms for toxicity. Such information will be input into biotic ligand models for NMs classes that output anticipated EC50 and other outcomes given information about NM exposure and local water chemistry. Through its engagement with end-users the consortia will link its predictions of NM body burdens and toxicological outcomes to risk management frameworks useful in regulatory decision-making.
Description Our work focused on the experimental stability and behaviour of nanomaterials, specifically silver nanoparticles in order to predict their behaviour in the environment. We have developed a substantially improved understanding of the likely fate of silver nanoparticles based on their solubility and bioavailability.
Exploitation Route Our findings should be considered in any future development of legislation for the safe use of nanomaterials.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Environment