Project

NANOREM-A novel isotope tool to assess nanoparticle toxicity in wetland plants

Goal: Nanoparticles (NPs), metal particles of less than 100nm, are increasingly emitted to the environment from a variety of anthropogenic sources. However, their toxic effects on living organisms, capacity to enter the food chain, and impact in environmental health are poorly understood. NANOREM is a research project aiming to provide the first comprehensive insight into the toxicity of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles in wetland plants. This information is essential to evaluate correctly the risk of releasing large quantities of NPs to the environment. In this project we will make use of cutting edge isotope techniques to trace the sources of NP pollution, and to understand how NPs might change the current paradigm of metal cycling and assimilation by plants. Furthermore, NPs will be synthesized from plants and plant extracts using novel methods, and fully characterized.

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Project log

Cristina Caldelas
added a research item
The uptake, transport, and toxicity mechanisms of zinc oxide (ZnO) engineered nanomaterials (ZnO-ENMs) in aquatic plants remain obscure. We investigated ZnO ENM uptake and phytotoxicity in Phragmites australis by combining Zn stable isotopes and microanalysis. Plants were exposed to four ZnO materials: micron-size ZnO, nanoparticles (NPs) of <100 nm or <50 nm, and nanowires of 50 nm diameter at concentrations of 0-1000 mg l-1. All ZnO materials reduced growth, chlorophyll content, photosynthetic efficiency, and transpiration and led to Zn precipitation outside the plasma membranes of root cells. Nanoparticles <50 nm released more Zn2+ and were more toxic, thus causing greater Zn precipitation and accumulation in the roots and reducing Zn isotopic fractionation during Zn uptake. However, fractionation by the shoots was similar for all treatments and was consistent with Zn2+ being the main form transported to the shoots. Stable Zn isotopes are useful to trace ZnO ENM uptake and toxicity in plants.
Cristina Caldelas
added an update
Starting my secondment today at the Geochemistry Environment Toulouse with Franck Poitrasson. New isotope data coming soon!
 
Cristina Caldelas
added an update
NANOREM has started! For the last week we have been working on our first experimental design. More details soon!
 
Cristina Caldelas
added an update
Our future project NANOREM (a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship) will start the 1st of September at the University of Barcelona, in cooperation with BarcelonaTech, CNRS-Toulouse, and the landscape engineering company Naturalea.
 
Cristina Caldelas
added a project goal
Nanoparticles (NPs), metal particles of less than 100nm, are increasingly emitted to the environment from a variety of anthropogenic sources. However, their toxic effects on living organisms, capacity to enter the food chain, and impact in environmental health are poorly understood. NANOREM is a research project aiming to provide the first comprehensive insight into the toxicity of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles in wetland plants. This information is essential to evaluate correctly the risk of releasing large quantities of NPs to the environment. In this project we will make use of cutting edge isotope techniques to trace the sources of NP pollution, and to understand how NPs might change the current paradigm of metal cycling and assimilation by plants. Furthermore, NPs will be synthesized from plants and plant extracts using novel methods, and fully characterized.