Article

Risk characterization for nanotechnology.

Risk Analysis (Impact Factor: 2.28). 10/2010; 30(11):1671-9. DOI:10.1111/j.1539-6924.2010.01513.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Nanotechnology is a broad term that encompasses materials, structures, or processes that utilize engineered nanomaterials, which can be defined as materials intentionally designed to have one or more dimensions between 1 and 100 nm. Historically, risk characterization has been viewed as the final phase of a risk assessment process that integrates hazard identification, dose-response assessment, and exposure assessment. The novelty and diversity of materials, structures, and tools that are covered by above-defined "nanotechnology" raise substantial methodological issues and pose significant challenges for each of these phases of risk assessment. These issues and challenges culminate in the risk characterization phase of the risk assessment process, and this article discusses several of these key issues and approaches to developing risk characterization results and their implications for risk management decision making that are specific to nanotechnology.

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    ABSTRACT: The increasing applications of different nanomaterials in the myriad of nano-enabled products and their potential for leaching have raised considerable environmental, health and safety (EHS) concerns. As systematic studies investigating potential anomalies in the morphology and anatomy of crop plants are scarce, herein we report on the developmental responses of two agriculturally significant crop plants, maize (Zea mays L.) and cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata L.), upon in vitro exposure to nanoparticles of citrate-coated silver (Citrate-nAg) and zinc oxide (nZnO). Analyses involve histology of the primary root morphology and anatomy using light microscopy, metal biouptake, moisture content, rate of germination, and root elongation. Comparative toxicity profiles of the ionic salts (AgNO3 and ZnSO4) are developed. Notably, we uncover structural changes in maize primary root cells upon exposure to Citrate-nAg, nZnO, AgNO3, and ZnSO4, possibly due to metal biouptake, suggesting potential for functional impairments in the plant growth and development. Citrate-nAg exposure results in lower Ag biouptake compared to AgNO3 treatment in maize. Microscopic evidence reveals 'tunneling-like effect' with nZnO treatment, while exposure to AgNO3 leads to cell erosion in maize root apical meristem. In maize, a significant change in metaxylem count is evident with Citrate-nAg, AgNO3, and ZnSO4 treatment, but not with nZnO treatment (p>0.1). In both maize and cabbage, measures of germination and root elongation reveal lower nanoparticle toxicity compared to free ions. As moisture data do not support osmotically-induced water stress hypothesis for explaining toxicity, we discuss other proximate mechanisms including the potential role of growth hormones and transcription factors. These findings highlight previously overlooked, anatomically significant effects of metal nanoparticles, and recommend considering detailed anatomical investigations in tandem with the standard developmental phytotoxicity assays (germination and root elongation) as the latter ones appear less sensitive for screening plant responses to nanomaterial insults.
    Science of The Total Environment 03/2013; 452-453C:321-332. · 3.26 Impact Factor

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Aug 21, 2013