The use of engineered nanoparticles in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, sensors and many other commercial applications has been growing exponentially over the past decade. EU and Member State’s research into the environmental impact of these materials, particularly in aquatic systems, is at an early stage. ENNSATOX addresses this deficit through a, comprehensive investigation relating the structure and functionality of well characterised engineered nanoparticles to their biological activity in environmental aquatic systems. An integrated approach will assess the activity of the particles in a series of biological models of increasing complexity. Parallel environmental studies will take place on the behaviour of the nanoparticles in natural waters and how they modify the particles' chemical reactivity, physical form and biological activity. An integrated theoretical model will be developed describing the environmental system as a series of biological compartments where particles transport between a) compartments by advection-diffusion and b) between phases by a transfer function. Following optimisation of the transfer functions a generic predictive model will be derived for the environmental impact of each class of nanoparticle in aqueous systems. A generalised understanding of the dependence of the nanoparticle biological activity on its structure and functionality will be obtained including the role and interaction of the biological membranes within organisms. ENNSATOX will generate: 1) exploitable IP (devices and ecotoxicology predictive software package); 2) set of standard protocols for assay of nanoparticle biological activity which can be later accredited; 3) global dissemination of results; 4) creation of an EU laboratory service; 5) tools and data to inform EU Regulation and the EC’s code of conduct for responsible nanosciences and nanotechnologies research, ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/nanotechnology/docs/nanocode-recommendation-pe0894c08424_en.pdf.
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