The production of engineered nanoparticles is growing, but knowledge about fate and effects is still limited. In this PhD research is studied first how the particles aggregate, because this determines the transport and bioavailability for organisms. The sorption of contaminants to nanoparticles is also studied, as the nanoparticles could be more toxic because of this.
Sediment important ‘sink’ for nanoparticles
The toxic effects were studied with standard aquatic tests, but water is actually not a suitable medium as the nanoparticles will aggregate too rapid. For this reason a new type long-term field test was developed to study the effects of carbon nanotubes on a natural benthic community. It seemed that sediment organisms already were affected at environmentally relevant concentrations and that sediment is an important ‘sink’ for nanoparticles. As a result the water bottom is the most important compartment when it is about risks of nanoparticles and more research in that compartment is therefore important.