Nanoparticles and atherothrombosis: resolving the paradox
N. Mills, University of Edinburgh
Exposure to ambient ultrafine particles has been associated with adverse cardiovascular events. Combustion-derived nanoparticles are thought to be the main mediators of these effects. We will attempt to establish the properties of nanoparticles which are most likely to elicit a prothrombotic effect and determine whether pulmonary exposure to nanoparticles can lead to extrapumonary distribution and contribute to cardiovascular disease. We will take a systematic approach and endeavour to relate nanoparticle toxicity to physiochemical structure, with the hope of developing a QSAR model, which would be applicable to many different types of nanoparticles, from many sources thus aiding in the design of safer nanoparticles for medical purposes and in establishing safe limits of exposure in occupational and environmental settings.
Nanoparticles and their impact on the bioremediation of hydrocarbons in aquatic ecosystems
Ian Colbeck, University of Essex
The main aim of the project is to investigate the effects nanoparticles (carbon nanotubes, silver nanoparticles and titanium oxide nanoparticles) on the breakdown of crude-oil hydrocarbons by marine and freshwater hydrocarbonoclastic microbial communities. Further work will later focus on the impact of nanoparticles on other integral processes carried out by indigenous marine microbial populations, such as methane oxidation, nitrification and denitrification. Whilst the microbiological techniques are readily available within the Department a wide range of physical and analytical detection methods are also required to understand how structure and chemistry can influence the environmental function of nanoparticles.
Lung surfactant polymer interactions with nanoparticles
M. Kendall, University of Birmingham
Clark and Kendall proposed a novel hypothesis that lung surfactant polymers have a role in inflammation of the lung resulting from nanoparticle (NP) exposure. One completed NERC project (Kendall et al 2009) and a MRC project have begun to elucidate the protective role of lung polymers in the toxicology of nanoparticles (Kendall 2009, Submitted to Nanotoxicology). Here we propose a NP characterisation project to support these important studies. The project will characterise NP surfaces and aggregation behaviour in interaction with the molecules of interest. The project is a unique collaboration of cross-faculty members and a fledgling PhD project.
Nanoparticle characterisation in floodplain and wetland environments
D. Lapworth, British Geological Survey
Groundwater is an important natural resource, providing drinking water and sustaining rivers and wetland ecosystems. Natural nanoparticles, such as mineral particles and complex organic molecules are important vectors for contaminants. Their formation can enhance the mobility of otherwise immobile contaminants, providing a pathway for groundwater and river water pollution, and are important in terms of biogeochemical cycling and bioavailability. This study will characterise the evolution of natural nanoparticles and particle-contaminant associations during flooding and recession cycles at two contrasting sites in the Thames river basin. One site is in the Oxford floodplain, with a history of anthropogenic pollution, the second site is situated in the Boxford wetland area on the River Lambourn.
Nano-crystalline Hydroxyapatite Bio-mineral for the Treatment of Nuclear Wastes
S. Handley-Sidhu, University of Birmingham
Bacterially produced hydroxyapatite (Bio-HA) is superior to its inorganic equivalents in the sorption and immobilization of toxic radioelements. It has the potential to play a significant role in remediation of existing contaminated sites and future radionuclide release. Building on detailed bio-synthesis and sorption experiments we propose to characterise the materials using the FENAC. Thus providing information that can be related to the sorption behaviour of Sr, Co and U and their modes of incorporation. We will examine Bio-HA material prepared by different bio-syntheses to determine the most stable and appropriate forms of Bio-HA for nuclear waste cleanup.
Characterisation and assessment of bioavailability of cloud-processed dust
E. Kadar, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Consensus is that globally transported mineral dusts contribute to ocean fertilisation (Jickells et al., 2001). Whilst mainly free iron is known to enhance primary production, our recent research indicates that nano-sized iron particles can readily penetrate biological membranes (Kadar et al., 2010). We propose to investigate iron-rich nanoparticles derived from Saharan dust and their influence on phytoplankton productivity. We propose a suite of laboratory experiments using Fe rich Saharan dust (samples already available) exposed to the photochemical processes likely to occur during cloud formation. Sequential extractions and high resolution microscopic techniques will be used to demonstrate changes in morphology, mineralogy and chemical properties of cloud processed mineral dusts. Subsequently, bioavailability of "cloud-mediated" nanoparticles to a well described phytoplankton species (Emiliana huxleyi) will be investigated; changes in biochemical and physiological function of the microalgae will be assessed using flow cytometry, microscopy and fluorimetry (Readman et al., 2004) while batch cultures are obtained on growth media fortified with nano-Fe versus conventionally used EDTA-Fe The proposed study could offer opportunities to tackle global Fe-deficiency concerns .
Ecotoxicology test protocols for zinc oxide and cerium oxide nanoparticles
T. Galloway, University of Exeter
Nanotechnologies promise significant societal benefits, yet the ecotoxicology of manufactured nanoparticles released into the environment is not well understood. Our work is investigating the fate, behaviour and sublethal effects of OECD-selected and commercially important zinc oxide and cerium oxide nanoparticles to aquatic organisms. To fully interpret our results, we require more detailed knowledge of their physico-chemical behaviour in our biological systems. We request detailed characterisation of both zinc oxide and cerium oxide nanoprticles in different water systems to be able to proceed with more specific and intelligent toxicological studies.
Addressing biological uptake and maternal transfer capabilities of selected metal oxide nanoparticles
C.Tyler, University of Exeter
The effects of exposure pathways on responses to manufactured nanoparticles (MNPs) in aquatic organisms are largely unknown. We will apply 3 exposures scenarios to assess uptake, bio distribution and biological effects of selected metal oxide nanoparticles in fish. The exposures will include dosing CeO2 NPs in combination with natural organic matter via the water, microinjection of various metal oxide NPs to zebra fish embryos, and dietary exposure of silver NPs to female guppies to investigate maternal transfer. We require access to the FENAC facility to provide comprehensive characterisation data on the particles in their raw state and in their exposure matrices, and to assess tissue burdens in exposed animals.