- About Us
- Career Center
- Nano-Social Network
- Nano Consulting
- My Account
University of South Carolina study finds manmade nanoparticles could contaminate marine food web
Too tiny to see or touch, manmade nanoparticles are increasingly becoming a byproduct of industry and chemical and pharmaceutical technology.
But once these super small materials enter the water supply, do they reach coastal areas and enter marshes and tidal zones, the complex environments where shellfish and finfish grow?
Researchers at the University of South Carolina's Nanocenter, working with scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Charleston, examined whether gold nanorods could readily pass from water to the marine food web.
Their findings, published online at Nature Nanotechnology, suggest that nanoparticles move easily into the marine food web and are absorbed in grasses, trapped in biofilms and consumed by filter feeders, such as clams.
"This is the first study to report on the fate of gold nanoparticles in a complex ecosystem containing sediments, biofilms, grasses, microscopic organisms, filter feeders and omnivores," said environmental chemist Dr. John L. Ferry of the University of South Carolina.
The gold nanorods were used in the study because of their ability to be traced, he said.
For the experiment, scientists at NOAA's Coastal Center for Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research created three estuarine mesocosms, experimental enclosures replicating a coastal ecosystem. In developing the coastal "labs," NOAA scientists constructed a tidal marsh creek, containing natural, unfiltered water from Wadmalaw Island; planted Spartina grass in sedimnents; and added clams, mud snails and grass shrimp. The gold nanorods were synthesized by researchers at USC and introduced into the ecosystems. At the end of the experiment, the USC team developed the techniques necessary to measure the fate of the nanoparticles and found that clams and biofilms accumulated the most.
"As the first experiment of its kind, we really didn't know what to expect," said Dr. Geoff Scott, (Director of Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research NOAA/NOS), who collaborated with Dr. Michael Fulton, (Estuaries and Land Use Acting Branch Chief, Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular research/NOAA) . "This study enabled us to understand how these nanomaterials were transported through the ecosystem."
The research has implications for all coastal environments and will provide a baseline for future studies on the environmental impact of nanomaterials, Scott said.
The study is significant because it shows that manmade nanoparticles can enter the estuarine food and ultimately could find their way into the shellfish and fish that humans eat, said Ferry.
"This study is a road map for where we go next," he said. "We did not look at what happens ‘up the food chain.'"
"This landmark study points towards things to come in the near future", say Tom Vogt, Director of the NanoCenter at the University of South Carolina, "when we will enlarge our national and international R&D footprint even more by developing the recently endowed Center of Economic Excellence for Nanoenvironmental Research and Risk Assessment."
About University of South Carolina
The NanoCenter is the University’s focal point for science and engineering studies of nanometer-scale structures, their unique properties, and their integration into functional units. It fosters multidisciplinary research and education efforts involving faculty whose combined expertise spans the disciplines of a comprehensive research university, including the arts and sciences, engineering, and medicine, as well as other professional schools.
For more information, please click here
120 Sumwalt College
University of South Carolina
1212 Greene Street
Columbia, SC 29208
Copyright © University of South CarolinaIf you have a comment, please Contact us.
Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
|Related News Press|
Syracuse University chemists add color to chemical reactions: Chemists in the College of Arts and Sciences have come up with an innovative new way to visualize and monitor chemical reactions in real time May 19th, 2016
Preparing for Nano
Searching for a nanotech self-organizing principle May 1st, 2016
Nanotechnology is changing everything from medicine to self-healing buildings: Nanotechnology is so small it's measured in billionths of metres, and it is revolutionising every aspect of our lives April 2nd, 2016
Durnham University's DEEPEN project comes to a close September 26th, 2012
Technical Seminar at ANFoS 2012 August 22nd, 2012
Simple attraction: Researchers control protein release from nanoparticles without encapsulation: U of T Engineering discovery stands to improve reliability and fabrication process for treatments to conditions such as spinal cord damage and stroke May 28th, 2016
Doubling down on Schrödinger's cat May 27th, 2016
Nanoparticles present sustainable way to grow food crops May 1st, 2016
'Honeycomb' of nanotubes could boost genetic engineering April 7th, 2016
The next generation of carbon monoxide nanosensors May 26th, 2016
Novel functionalized nanomaterials for CO2 capture May 10th, 2016
First single-enzyme method to produce quantum dots revealed: Biological manufacturing process, pioneered by three Lehigh University engineers, produces equivalent quantum dots to those made chemically--but in a much greener, cheaper way May 9th, 2016
Programmable materials find strength in molecular repetition May 23rd, 2016
NRL reveals novel uniform coating process of p-ALD April 21st, 2016
New ORNL method could unleash solar power potential March 16th, 2016