Seminars Archive

Mon 10 Oct, at 14:30 - Seminar Room T2

Ecosafety assessment of nanomaterials entering the marine environment

Ilaria Corsi
Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, della Terra e dell’Ambiente, Università degli Studi di Siena

Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are nowadays used extensively in a variety of emerging technologies and commercial products, including biomedicine, pharmaceuticals and personal care, renewable energies, and electronic devices. As these materials are used, disposed of, and degraded, they can release engineered Nanoparticles (ENPs) into the environment. Fate and transport models indicate that ENPs entering soil and waterways will eventually reach the marine environment as nanowaste that can cause human injuries as well as ecological impact with significant socioeconomic consequences. Moreover, some accidental releases and exposures cannot be excluded since a suite of new marine nanotechnologies, including antifouling paints and pollution remediation systems, are also being developed with great uncertainty about their ecosafety and sustainability for the marine environment. An increasing number of short-term, well-controlled laboratory studies have tested ENP's toxicity on marine organisms and showed a wide variety of potential biological injuries. Whether ENPs cause similar injuries in the dynamic natural marine environment is uncertain because the fate, transport, and behavior of many ENPs in natural seawater, and thus their biological risks, remain poorly understood. The chemistry of ENPs plays a crucial role as their bioavailability, bioaccumulation, and toxicity are difficult to predict in seawater because the materials undergo complex interactions/transformations when exposed to elevated ionic concentrations and in the presence of natural organic matter. Therefore, developing tools to predict, estimate and compare short and long-term effects and risks of ENPs entering the marine environment presents many challenges. State-of-the-art approaches used to measure the exposure and toxicity of ENPs in marine ecosystems will be discussed as well as the influence of key environmental conditions and other multiple environmental stressors including interaction with existing contaminants.

(Referer: C. Masciovecchio)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 15:21