Transatlantic Initiative for Nanotechnology and the Environment

Lead Research Organisation: Rothamsted Research
Department Name: Sustainable Soils and Grassland Systems

Abstract

We have developed a life cycle perspective inspired conceptual model (CM) that suggests the importance of terrestrial ecosystems as a major repository of ZnO, TiO2, and Ag (Tier 1) manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) introduced via the land application of MNM-containing biosolids. We propose to investigate the transport, fate, behavior, bioavailability, and effects of MNMs in(to) agroecosystems under environmentally realistic scenarios organized around three key hypotheses: Hypothesis (H1) Surface chemistry is the primary factor influencing the fate and transport of MNMs in the terrestrial environment as well as the bioavailability and effects to biological receptors; Hypothesis (H2) Once released to the environment, pristine MNM surfaces will be modified by interactions with organic and inorganic ligands (macromolecules) or via other biogeochemical transformations (aging effects forming a-MNMs); Hypothesis (H3) Ecoreceptors will respond to interactions with pristine metal and metal oxide MNMs, a-MNMs, and/or dissolved constituent metal ions and bulk oxides by specific ecological and toxicogenomic responses that will reflect their combined effects. Experimental Approach: Detailed physicochemical characterization will be conducted on Tier 1 and Tier 2 (CeO2, carbon nanotubes) MNMs and a-MNMs produced by simulating aging and these materials will be utilized in column transport (Tier 1 and 2), bioavailability, and effects (Tier 1) studies to key ecoreceptors (bacteria, soil invertebrates, and plants). Data needed to calibrate and validate the pBRM will be collected for Tier 1 MNMs using a subset of ecoreceptor species. The CM and model results from the simulated aging of MNMs will then be validated by repeating studies of Tier 1 MNMs subjected to actual WWTP using a pilot scale WWT facility. To facilitate these and future investigations of MNMs under environmentally relevant scenarios, novel in situ tools will be developed. Expected Results: The proposed research will generate among the first data on the transformations of important classes of MNMs subjected to WWTP as well as those added to and aged in soil. These data will be critical for evaluating potential direct and indirect ecological and human health risks of MNMs introduced to agroecosystems. Data generated on the simulated aged materials and on the MNM containing biosolids and soils to test H1 & H2, may indicate that the permutations of MNM properties required to be experimentally considered under realistic environmental scenarios can be significantly reduced. Furthermore, the results of this work will provide the first validation of using gene and protein expression profiles generated in laboratory controlled experiments as an indicator of exposure or effects under environmentally realistic conditions. An important output from the proposed research and modeling efforts will be the development of first generation validated predictive models of the environmental fate, behavior, bioavailability, and effects of several important classes of MNMs in agroecosystems.

Publications

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Donner E (2015) Non-labile silver species in biosolids remain stable throughout 50 years of weathering and ageing. in Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)

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McGrath, S.P. (2011) Nanoparticle bioavailability

 
Description 1)A calibrated nanosilver sediment chemistry model has been developed in the context of the risk assessment activities.

It is believed that the majority of nanomaterials eroded from the biosolid amended agroecosystems will eventually end up in the sediments. Therefore a sediment chemistry model capable of predicting the transformations of metal nanoparticles will be essential to understanding the long term risks posed by manmade nanomaterials.

2)A method was developed that allowed for isolation and characterization of Ag MNMs in soil and biosolids amended soil.

3)Methods for measuring total concentration of Ag ions released during exposure to both the pristine and sulfidized Ag-NPs have been optimized and the observed toxicity cannot be explained solely by the concentration of Ag+ after 24 h of exposure, suggesting particle-specific effects.
Exploitation Route The results suggest that regulations on the amounts of metals allowed in agricultural soils after biosolids spreading may not be strict enough for biosolids that contain zinc and/or silver that have been derived from nanoparticles. Therefore, they have potentially important implications for stakeholders concerned with the management of the risks of biosolids spreading on land. These stakeholders will include policymakers concerned with setting regulations, and regulators concerned with implanting such regulations. These results could be taken forward by such stakeholders to assess whether current regulations and/or practice in biosolids spreading require amendment to account for the possible presence of nanoparticle-derived metals in such biosolids. There is also a scientific need to build upon these findings. Firstly, there is a need to better establish whether or not both silver and zinc are making significant contributions to the observed effects, in order to focus future research efforts. Secondly, there is a need to better understand the mechanisms behind the effects. For example, are there significant differences in the physical or chemical forms of silver and zinc in biosolids, depending on whether they enter the sewage treatment system as nanoparticles or in other forms? Do any such differences influence the uptake of silver and/or zinc by earthworms, and do they influence the degree of effect seen as a result of uptake? Finally, do these findings also apply to other key components of soil ecosystems, such as microbial communities, thus suggesting a generally higher hazard due to metals in nanoparticulate form in biosolids? Therefore, there is considerable potential for these results to be used a starting point by researchers in nanoparticle physicochemistry and ecotoxicity to further develop understanding of the causes and extent of ecological effects due to silver and zinc in biosolids that have been derived from nanoparticles. Such research may ultimately feed into assessment and/or amendment of regulations concerning the spreading of biosolids to land.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Healthcare

 
Description This work investigated key aspects of the environmental behaviour of metallic nanomaterials, namely whether the nanomaterial nature of the material influences its environmental impact. The work provides evidence that the initial nanomaterial nature of a substance can influence its hazard via environmental exposure, even if the pristine material undergoes chemical transformation prior to its entry into the environment. This work has thus provided evidence for the need to consider nanoforms of materials such as silver and zinc as distinct entities within environmental and human health risk assessment. Such evidence is being used by national and supranational bodies (e.g. European Chemicals Agency, European Food Standards Agency) to develop guidelines for requirements on assessing exposure to, and risks of, material nanoforms. In the medium term, this is expected to impact wider society via changes in the volumes and types of nanomaterials used within consumer products, for example silver nanomaterial use to impregnate clothing as an antimicrobial product and zinc oxide nanomaterial use within sunscreens.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description EU-COST FA0905 Mineral improved crop production for healthy food and feed
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
URL http://www.cost.eu/COST_Actions/fa/Actions/FA0905manual
 
Description Science Advisory Board Member for Plant Impact
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in advisory committee
 
Title Nanosilver sediment chemistry model 
Description A calibrated nanosilver sediment chemistry model has been developed in the context of the risk assessment activities. It is believed that the majority of nanomaterials eroded from the biosolid amended agroecosystems will eventually end up in the sediments. Therefore a sediment chemistry model capable of predicting the transformations of metal nanoparticles will be essential to understanding the long term risks posed by manmade nanomaterials 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact UNKNOWN 
 
Description Transatlantic initiative for nanotechnology and the environment (TINE 
Organisation University of Exeter
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Exposing fish in Cranfield WWTF effluent system spiked with ENPs
Start Year 2010
 
Description Transatlantic initiative for nanotechnology and the environment (TINE) 
Organisation University of Gothenburg
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution ICPMS technique (FFF coupled to Single Particle) to look at Nano particulate metal in normal river and effluent waters. Effluent from control and NP dosed lines of the TINE pilot plant used to develop this technique.
Start Year 2010
 
Description Environmental Nanoscience Initiative - Finale Stakeholder Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Environmental Nanoscience Initiative - Finale Stakeholder Event
10th December 2015, The Royal Society 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description International Year of Soils 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Received lots of positive feedback from the public

unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Nanoparticle bioavailability 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation keynote/invited speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussions afterwards

Not known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Nanoparticle bioavailability, toxicity in terrestrial systems 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 4th International Contaminated Site Remediation Conference

none
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Nanoparticle bioavailability: Toxicity in terrestrial environments 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation keynote/invited speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 6th International Workshop on Chemical Bioavailability in the Terrestrial Environment 2011 CleanUP

none
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Nanoparticle bioavailability: Toxicity in terrestrial environments 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation keynote/invited speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 6th International Workshop on Chemical Bioavailability in the Terrestrial Environment
Nanoparticle bioavailability" 6th International Workshop on Chemical Bioavailability in the Terrestrial Environment, Adelaide, Sept 7-9 and 12-15. 2011.



no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Nanoparticle toxicity modelling workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact ENI Workshop and Grantee meeting

none
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Nanoparticles 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Radio Verulam interview 30 July 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Silver soils 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Interviewed for an article titled published in the February 2012 edition of Chemistry World

none
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012