Methodology Development for Manufactured Nanomaterial Bioaccumulation Test

EPA Grant Number: R833327
Title: Methodology Development for Manufactured Nanomaterial Bioaccumulation Test
Investigators: Chen, Yongsheng , Crittenden, John C. , Huang, C. P. , Sommerfeld, Milton , Hu, Qiang , Chang, Yung
Institution: Arizona State University - Main Campus , University of Delaware
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: September 1, 2006 through August 31, 2009
Project Amount: $399,768
RFA: Exploratory Research: Nanotechnology Research Grants Investigating Environmental and Human Health Effects of Manufactured Nanomaterials: a Joint Research Solicitation-EPA, NSF, NIOSH, NIEHS (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health Effects , Nanotechnology , Health , Safer Chemicals


Because of their small size and high specific surface area, manufactured nanomaterials have enhanced mobility and, potentially, greater toxicity as they have almost unrestricted access into aquatic organisms and the human body. However, there is no data available on whether these manufactured nanomaterials are toxic within months or years. So, these nanomaterials could constitute a new class of non-biodegradable pollutants and may bioaccumulate in the food chain. Consequently, it is imperative to develop a suitable methodology to evaluate the potential risks of bioaccumulation of manufactured nanomaterials in aquatic organisms so that we can understand their potential impacts and avoid serious environmental consequences, such as with DDT (dichlor-diphenyl-trichloroethane) and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). The objectives of this project are: 1) to develop suitable manufactured nanomaterial bioaccumulation testing procedures to assure data accuracy and precision, test replication, and the comparative value of test results; 2) to evaluate how the forms of these manufactured nanomaterials affect the potential bioavailability and bioconcentration factor (BCF) in phytoplankton; 3) to determine the potential biomagnification of manufactured nanomaterials in zooplankton; and 4) to determine the potential biomagnification of manufactured nanomaterials in fish.


The proposed research brings a multidisciplinary team, which includes nanomaterial engineers and chemists, physiologists, and molecular biologists. A hypothesis of whether manufactured nanomaterials can be accumulated in aquatic organisms will be tested. The bioconcentration, bioaccumulation, and biomagnification of manufactured nanomaterials will be evaluated in a simulated food chain and aquatic organisms, consisting of algae, daphnia, and zebrafish. Advanced analysis techniques and methods including image shape analyzing particle counter, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS), and electron microscopy will be employed for analysis of nanomaterial size, exploration of bioavilability and dispersion pathways of nanomaterials entering into cells of an aquatic organism, and determination of the ratio of nanomaterials dispersed in the organs of an organism.

Expected Results:

Any risk assessment requires basic information on toxicity to biota and the likelihood of uptake into the food chain. The proposed work will provide essential nanomaterial bioaccumulation testing procedures and fundamental data on the movement and transformation capabilities of nanomaterials in aquatic organisms and the first evidence that such nanomaterials can or cannot be biologically accumulated in aquatic organisms. This research would ultimately allow us to better understand the consequences of manufactured nanomaterials in the environment.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 17 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 8 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

bioavailability, bioaccumulation, methodology, food web, nanomaterials,, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Health Risk Assessment, Risk Assessments, Physical Processes, fate and transport, food chain, bioavailability, exposure, nanotechnology, nanomaterials, nanoparticle toxicity, bioaccumulation, biochemical research

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2007
  • 2008 Progress Report
  • Final Report