Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nano form of titanium dioxide can be toxic to marine organisms

25.01.2012
Ultraviolet radiation is the catalyst for cellular damage in phytoplankton

The Bren School-based authors of a study published Jan. 20 in the journal PLoS ONE have observed toxicity to marine organisms resulting from exposure to a nanoparticle that had not previously been shown to be toxic under similar conditions.

Lead author and assistant research biologist Robert Miller and co-authors Arturo Keller and Hunter Lenihan – both Bren School professors and lead scientists at the UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN) – Bren Phd student Samuel Bennett, and Scott Pease, a former UCSB undergraduate and current graduate student in public health at the University of Washington, found that the nanoparticulate form of titanium dioxide (TiO2) exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) can be toxic to marine organisms.

"Application of nanomaterials in consumer products and manufacturing is quickly increasing, but there is concern that these materials, including nanoparticles, may harm the environment," says Miller. "The oceans could be most at risk, since wastewater and factory discharges ultimately end up there."

Nano-titanium dioxide is highly reactive to sunlight and other forms of ultraviolet radiation (UVR,) the authors write, adding that TiO2's property of generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) when exposed to UVR makes it useful in antibacterial coatings and wastewater disinfection, and potentially valuable as an anti-cancer agent.

Until now, they say, no research has demonstrated that photoactivity causes environmental toxicity of TiO2 under natural levels of UVR.

"Previous experiments have suggested that TiO2 does not affect aquatic organisms, but these experiments used artificial lighting that generated much lower levels of UVR than sunlight," Miller explains. "In these new experiments, we used lights simulating natural sunlight."

But now, the authors say, "We show that relatively low levels of ultraviolet light, consistent with those found in nature, can induce toxicity of TiO2 nanoparticles to marine phytoplankton, the most important primary producers on Earth.

"With no exposure to UVR, the TiO2 had no effect on phytoplankton, but under low-intensity UVR, ROS in seawater increased with increasing concentrations of nano- TiO2."

The concern is that rising concentrations of nano- TiO2 "may lead to increased overall oxidative stress in seawater contaminated by TiO22, and cause decreased resiliency of marine ecosystems."

The authors suggest, therefore, that UVR exposure should be considered when conducting experiments to determine the ecotoxicity of nanomaterials having photoactive potential.

James Badham | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsb.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ruby: Jacobs University scientists are collaborating in the development of a new type of chocolate
18.09.2017 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

nachricht German scientists question study about plastic-eating caterpillars
15.09.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

IVAM’s LaserForum visits the Swiss canton of St. Gallen with the topic ultrashort pulse lasers

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Robust and functional – surface finishing by suspension spraying

19.09.2017 | Materials Sciences

The Wadden Sea and the Elbe Studied with Zeppelin, Drones and Research Ships

19.09.2017 | Earth Sciences

Digging sensors out of an efficiency hole

19.09.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>