Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Common nanoparticles found to be highly toxic to Arctic ecosystem

Queen's researchers Niraj Kumar and Virginia Walker with the piece of equipment they used to measure the respiration of microbe communities living in Arctic soil samples.
Queen's researchers Niraj Kumar and Virginia Walker with the piece of equipment they used to measure the respiration of microbe communities living in Arctic soil samples.

Abstract:
Queen's researchers have discovered that nanoparticles, which are now present in everything from socks to salad dressing and suntan lotion, may have irreparably damaging effects on soil systems and the environment.

Common nanoparticles found to be highly toxic to Arctic ecosystem

Kingston, Canada | Posted on April 6th, 2011

"Millions of tonnes of nanoparticles are now manufactured every year, including silver nanoparticles which are popular as antibacterial agents," says Virginia Walker, a professor in the Department of Biology. "We started to wonder what the impact of all these nanoparticles might be on the environment, particularly on soil."

The team acquired a sample of soil from the Arctic as part of their involvement in the International Polar Year initiative. The soil was sourced from a remote Arctic site as they felt that this soil stood the greatest chance of being uncontaminated by any nanoparticles.

"We hadn't thought we would see much of an impact, but instead our results indicate that silver nanoparticles can be classified as highly toxic to microbial communities. This is particularly concerning when you consider the vulnerability of the arctic ecosystem."

Dr. Walker further noted that although technological progress is important, the world has a history of welcoming innovations prior to reflecting on their impact on the environment. Such examples include the discovery of the insecticide DDT, the use of the drug thalidomide during pregnancy and the widespread use of synthetic fertilizers.

The researchers first examined the indigenous microbe communities living in the uncontaminated soil samples before adding three different kinds of nanoparticles, including silver. The soil samples were then left for six months to see how the addition of the nanoparticles affected the microbe communities. What the researchers found was both remarkable and concerning.

The original analysis of the uncontaminated soil had identified a beneficial microbe that helps fix nitrogen to plants. As plants are unable to fix nitrogen themselves and nitrogen fixation is essential for plant nutrition, the presence of these particular microbes in soil is vital for plant growth. The analysis of the soil sample six months after the addition of the silver nanoparticles showed negligible quantities of the important nitrogen-fixing species remaining and laboratory experiments showed that they were more than a million times susceptible to silver nanoparticles than other species.

These pioneering findings by Queen's researchers Niraj Kumar and Virginia Walker and Dowling College's Vishal Shah have been published today in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, the highest ranking journal in Civil Engineering.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Christina Archibald
Communications Officer

613-533-2877

Copyright © Queen’s University

If 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.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Nanoparticle versus cancer: Scientists have created nanoparticles which cure cancer harmlessly July 22nd, 2016

Quantum drag:University of Iowa physicist says current in one iron magnetic sheet can create quantized spin waves in another, separate sheet July 22nd, 2016

New Yale-developed device lengthens the life of quantum information July 22nd, 2016

RMIT researchers make leap in measuring quantum states July 21st, 2016

Discoveries

Nanoparticle versus cancer: Scientists have created nanoparticles which cure cancer harmlessly July 22nd, 2016

Quantum drag:University of Iowa physicist says current in one iron magnetic sheet can create quantized spin waves in another, separate sheet July 22nd, 2016

New Yale-developed device lengthens the life of quantum information July 22nd, 2016

Research team led by NUS scientists develop plastic flexible magnetic memory device: Novel technique to implant high-performance magnetic memory chip on a flexible plastic surface without compromising performance July 21st, 2016

Announcements

Nanoparticle versus cancer: Scientists have created nanoparticles which cure cancer harmlessly July 22nd, 2016

Quantum drag:University of Iowa physicist says current in one iron magnetic sheet can create quantized spin waves in another, separate sheet July 22nd, 2016

New Yale-developed device lengthens the life of quantum information July 22nd, 2016

Graphene photodetectors: Thinking outside the 2-D box July 21st, 2016

Environment

News from Quorum: The College of New Jersey use the Quorum Cryo-SEM preparation system in a project to study ice crystals in high altitude clouds July 19th, 2016

Researchers improve catalyst efficiency for clean industries: Method reduces use of expensive platinum July 8th, 2016

Electronic nose smells pesticides and nerve gas July 6th, 2016

Wireless, wearable toxic-gas detector: Inexpensive sensors could be worn by soldiers to detect hazardous chemical agents July 4th, 2016

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

UK NANOSAFETY GROUP publishes 2nd Edition of guidance to support safe working with nanomaterials May 30th, 2016

PETA science group publishes a review on pulmonary effects of nanomaterials: Archives of Toxicology publishes a review of scientific studies on fibrotic potential of nanomaterials May 26th, 2016

Common nanoparticle has subtle effects on oxidative stress genes May 11th, 2016

Non-animal approach to predict impact of nanomaterials on human lung published Archives of Toxicology publishes workshop recommendations May 2nd, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic