Ecotoxicology of nanomaterials: the role of invertebrate testing

Authors

  • A G Cattaneo Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Sciences (DBMS), University of Insubria, Varese, Italy
  • R Gornati Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Sciences (DBMS), University of Insubria, Varese, Italy
  • M Chiriva-Internati Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX 79430, USA
  • G Bernardini Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Sciences (DBMS), University of Insubria, Varese, Italy ; Centro Interuniversitario Politecnico di Milano e Universit√† dell'Insubria "The Protein Factory"

Keywords:

engineered nanomaterials, nanotoxicology, invertebrates

Abstract

Engineered nanomaterials represent a new and expanding class of chemicals whose
environmental hazard is actually poorly determined. The peculiar behavior of nanomaterials makes
them much more similar to new chemicals than to the corresponding bulk materials; this feature
imposes reliable and standardized evaluation protocols for toxicity and ecotoxicity assessments.
General rules for assessing nanotoxicity and the state of the art are periodically published in reports by control agencies. This review highlights the role of invertebrates as valuable and validated test
organisms for assessing ecotoxicity of new and/or untested chemicals. The general scarcity of
experimental data, their unequal distribution among the different nanomaterials and environmental
conditions, the difficulties in manipulating nanomaterials and obtaining stable and homogeneous
suspensions, the confusion arising from a not well defined metrics are discussed.

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Published

2009-06-15

Issue

Section

Review