Due to their unique properties, nanomaterials (NMs) are being incorporated in several applications including consumer products, electronics, pesticides and the pharmaceutical industry. As such, the rapid development and large-scale production of NMs has inspired concerns regarding their environmental health risks. In order to address these concerns, there has been a rapid development in the methods of toxicity testing of NMs, specifically in aquatic organisms. Understanding the unique properties of nanoscale materials has proven to be a particular important aspect of their toxicity. Properties such as surface area, surface coating, surface charge, particle reactivity, aggregation and dissolution may affect cellular uptake, in vivo reactivity and distribution across tissues. The behaviour of NPs is influenced by both the inherent properties of the NP as well as environmental properties (such as temperature, pH, ionic strength, salinity, organic matter). As such, this chapter describes methodologies of NM characterization in exposure media and NM in vivo toxicity experimental procedures under variable environmental conditions (with special emphasis on temperature).
Part of the book: Invertebrates
Nanotoxicology represents a new and growing research area in toxicology. It deals with the assessment of the toxicological properties of nanoparticles (NPs) with the intention of determining whether (and to what extent) they pose an environmental or societal threat. Inherent properties of NPs (including size, shape, surface area, surface charge, crystal structure, coating, and solubility/dissolution) as well as environmental factors (such as temperature, pH, ionic strength, salinity, and organic matter) collectively influence NP behavior, fate and transport, and ultimately toxicity. The mechanisms underlying the toxicity of nanomaterials (NMs) have recently been studied extensively. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) toxicity represents one such mechanism. An overproduction of ROS induces oxidative stress, resulting in inability of the cells to maintain normal physiological redox-regulated functions. In the context of this book, this chapter includes topics pertaining to chemical and physical properties of NMs and characterization for proper toxicological evaluation, exposure, and environmental fate and transport, and ecological and genotoxic effects. This chapter reviews the available research pertaining specifically to NMs in the aquatic environment (in plants, aquatic invertebrates, and fish) and their use in biomarker studies.
Part of the book: Toxicology