Safety of nanoparticles under scrutiny

With the growing use of synthetic nanoparticles in consumer and industrial products, EU-funded researchers are examining how they affect organisms including plants, worms and bivalves, laying the foundations for an integrated approach to environmental nano-safety.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 1 March 2019  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
EnvironmentHealth & environment
Industrial researchNanotechnology
Information societyMicroelectronics and nanotechnology
Innovation
NanotechnologyNanomaterials
Research policyHorizon 2020
SMEs
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Austria  |  Czechia  |  Germany  |  Italy  |  Slovenia  |  United Kingdom
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Safety of nanoparticles under scrutiny

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© Science RF #212334348, 2019 source: stock.adobe.com

As nanotechnology develops and an increasing number of engineered nanoparticles find their way into a variety of consumer products and industrial applications, an EU-funded study is looking at their effects on the immune responses of organisms besides humans.

Currently, nano-enabled consumer products range from paint and clothing to sporting goods and cosmetics. The nanoparticles they contain serve a variety of functions: blocking ultraviolet rays, for example, or making plastics that are extremely light yet incredibly strong.

The effects of these synthetic nanoparticles on human health have been actively studied: such particles, even if not directly toxic, may alter the functioning of immune cells, posing significant health risks and making immunosafety a major issue. Environmental nanotoxicology, however, has received little attention.

The EU-funded PANDORA project aims to merge immunology, environmental sciences and nanotoxicology into a broader approach to environmental nano-safety that will provide a deeper understanding of the subject, and to propose innovative tools and realistic solutions.

Researchers are comparing the effects of nanoparticles, including iron, titanium and cerium oxide, on the immune response of several earth and marine organisms, as well as humans. The study is enabling researchers to identify common reactivity across immune defence evolution.

The team has assessed the capacity of selected nanoparticles to induce innate defence reactions in environmental organisms, such as plants, worms and marine bivalves, as well as humans. They have classified the reactions and identified common pathways in these reactions that can predict risks to environmental and human health. Based on these findings, they are designing surface modifications to synthetic nanoparticles that may change their impact on innate immunity.

PANDORA has received funding through the EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions programme and will train 11 early-stage PhD students.

Project details

  • Project acronym: PANDORA
  • Participants: Italy (Coordinator), Austria, Czechia, Germany, Slovenia, UK, Spain
  • Project N°: 671881
  • Total costs: € 2 814 491
  • EU contribution: € 2 814 491
  • Duration: January 2016 to December 2019

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