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Nano-Safety Research Group

Specialists in the assessment of nanomaterial toxicity to human health and the environment

Zuzanna Gajda-Meissner

Zuzanna profile

Toxicity of engineered nanomaterials to selected aquatic species, namely the freshwater crustacean Daphnia magna and the marine mollusc Mytilus edulis

Nanomaterials have been used in a growing number of commercial and industrial products and health-related applications due to their unusual physicochemical properties. The increasing use of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) and the uncertainties associated with their  often poorly understood, biological effects, raises concern regarding their potential for causing unanticipated adverse effects. In this study the potential effects of ENMs on Daphnia magna and Mytilus edulis will be investigated.

Initial studies will be focussed on D. magna and will assess the effects of copper oxide nanomaterials. Results from these tests will be compared with tests on copper chloride and copper oxide microparticles. OECD standard tests 202 and 211 will be conducted and data on a 48-h acute toxicity and 21-d reproductive effects will be obtained. The effect of the different chemical substances on the reproductive output will be assessed following OECD  standard protocol 211 based on the results from the acute toxicity tests. The median effective concentration (EC50) for immobilization after exposure for 48 h will be obtained through one-variable linear regression analyses of the negative logarithm of compound concentrations with the immobilization or mortality as the relative toxic potency. The Daphnia magna reproduction study is expected to be more sensitive than  the acute tests. Therefore the survival, reproduction, body length and population parameters of adult D.magna will be assessed after 21 d of exposure. Future studies will be focussed on oxidative stress responses of Daphnia magna exposed to the different chemical substances. The activities of the antioxidant enzyme will be evaluated.

Further work will involve testing the effects of selected nanomaterials in D. magna and M. edulis using a range of endpoints.


Prof. Teresa Fernandes (School of Life Sciences, Heriot-Watt University)

Dr. Mark Hartl (School of Life Sciences, Heriot-Watt University)


Seventh Framework Programme

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