Special Issue "Behavior and Effects of Nanoscale Materials and Plastics—Understanding the Mechanisms of Toxicity"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental and Sustainable Science and Technology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Vera Lúcia Maria
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology & CESAM, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: soil ecotoxicology; nanotoxicology; proteomics/metabolomics; antioxidant system/oxidative damage; nanoscale materials, including nanoplastics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Ângela Barreto
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology & CESAM, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: aquatic ecotoxicology; emerging contaminants; mixtures of contaminants; genotoxicity; oxidative stress/damage; neurotransmission and behavioral endpoints
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The application of nanomaterials today in a wide range of consumer products results in their continuously release to the environment. Therefore, the effects of nanoscale materials to aquatic and terrestrial organisms require our attention in terms of risk assessment. In addition, the occurrence and toxicity of incidental nanoscale plastic particles (e.g., not caused by the release of intentionally manufactured nanoplastics) is also important. To date, the information available on the current levels of nanoscale materials and plastics in the environment is limited to the predicted concentrations arising from use in consumer products. Additionally, there is a clear need to research the toxicological effects of these nanoscale materials and plastics in the organisms, and their behavior and characteristics’ alterations (e.g., surface charge, size and shape) at environmentally complex matrices, such as soil or water. It is described that the fate, uptake, and biological impact of the nanomaterials are dependent on their characteristics, which are in turn dependent of the medium where they are present.

This Special Issue of the Applied Sciences invites the submission of original research, case studies or up-to-date review papers on environmental risks posed by nanoscale materials and plastics. The study of the interaction between nanomaterials (plastics or others) and biological tissues/organisms would provide crucial data on their potential toxicity and interesting scientific information. In particular, it will welcome studies focused on the following topics:

  • Ecotoxicity assessed at individual (e.g., reproduction, behavior), biochemical (e.g., DNA damage, oxidative stress, neurotransmission) and molecular (e.g., gene and protein expressions) levels;
  • Long-term exposures with special attention to multigenerational and/or transgenerational effects;
  • Advances in characterization and understanding of the biological interactions of nanoscale materials and plastics, and therefore, biological effects;
  • The role of these nanoscale materials and plastics as carriers of other contaminants;
  • Abiotic characterization of the nanoscale materials and plastics in the media of exposure (e.g., spiked soil/water) or in different environmental compartments;
  • Analytical methods to assess environmental samples (monitoring the fate of nanoscale materials and plastics).

Dr. Vera Lúcia Maria
Dr. Ângela Barreto
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • nanomaterials
  • nanoplastics
  • ecotoxicological impact
  • gene and protein expressions
  • mechanisms of toxicity
  • soil and aquatic organisms
  • nano–bio interactions
  • behavior
  • environmental matrices
  • risk assessment

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
How Can Nanoplastics Affect the Survival, Reproduction, and Behaviour of the Soil Model Enchytraeus crypticus?
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(21), 7674; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10217674 - 30 Oct 2020
Abstract
Nanoplastics (NPls) are ubiquitous in terrestrial environments, with numerous consequences for biodiversity and ecosystems. Research is urgently required to clarify the NPls environmental behaviour, fate and ecotoxicological effects to soil ecosystems. The aim of this research was to assess and comprehend the effects [...] Read more.
Nanoplastics (NPls) are ubiquitous in terrestrial environments, with numerous consequences for biodiversity and ecosystems. Research is urgently required to clarify the NPls environmental behaviour, fate and ecotoxicological effects to soil ecosystems. The aim of this research was to assess and comprehend the effects of polystyrene NPls to the terrestrial species Enchytraeus crypticus using survival, reproduction and avoidance behaviour as endpoints. A range of concentrations, 0.015 to 1500 mg NPls/kg LUFA 2.2 (Landwirtschaftliche Untersuchungs- und Forschungsanstalt Speyer, Germany) soil, was tested. Due to the effect of tween 20 and sodium azide (NaN3) on the NPls dispersion, the effects of these compounds were also assessed separately. After 21 d, 1200 and 1500 mg/kg NPls dispersion had significant effects on the organism survival and/or reproduction. However, these effects may be mainly associated with tween 20 and NaN3 present in the NPls dispersion and not with NPls themselves. After 48 h, there was a tendency of the organisms to avoid the NPls spiked soils, being this response significant at 0.015 mg/kg although a reduced avoidance behaviour was observed as NPls concentration increased. The present study provides screening data on the effects of NPls, alone and considering the presence of other compounds like the solvents, which is essential for regulators and strategic management of plastic pollution. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Microplastic Contamination of Surface Water-Sourced Tap Water in Hong Kong—A Preliminary Study
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(10), 3463; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10103463 - 17 May 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Microplastics have been documented in a wide range of commercially available food products, and the presence of microplastics in tap water has received considerable attention in recent years. Although microplastics in drinking water pose a low concern for human health at current levels [...] Read more.
Microplastics have been documented in a wide range of commercially available food products, and the presence of microplastics in tap water has received considerable attention in recent years. Although microplastics in drinking water pose a low concern for human health at current levels of exposure, there is a need to understand the potential pathways for human microplastic exposure. With the application of Rose Bengal staining, microplastics in 110 surface water-sourced tap water samples from urban sources in Hong Kong were qualified and morphologically characterized. A total of 224 items were identified in 86 (78.2%) samples with a mean concentration of 2.181 ± 0.165 n L−1. Fibrous and smaller (<1 mm) microplastics predominated in samples, accounting for 97.8% and 65.1% of the total microplastic count, respectively. Our results indicated a comparatively low level of microplastic contamination of tap water in Hong Kong. The potential sources of microplastics could be microplastic-polluted water bodies, atmospheric input and mechanical abrasion of plastic equipment during water treatment and distribution. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
A Critical Review of SCWG in the Context of Available Gasification Technologies for Plastic Waste
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(18), 6307; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10186307 - 10 Sep 2020
Abstract
End of life packaging is nowadays one of the major environmental problems due to its short usage time, the low biodegradability, and the big volume occupied. In this context, gasification is one of the most promising chemical recycling techniques. Some non-recyclable or non-compostable [...] Read more.
End of life packaging is nowadays one of the major environmental problems due to its short usage time, the low biodegradability, and the big volume occupied. In this context, gasification is one of the most promising chemical recycling techniques. Some non-recyclable or non-compostable waste gasification plants are already operating such as Enerkem Alberta Biofuels in Canada or the Sierra’s FastOx Pathfinder in California. In this review, we have examined works about plastic gasification from the last fifteen years with a specific focus on polyolefin (PP, PE), plastics mix, and co-gasification of plastic with biomass. For each of these, the best operating conditions were investigated. A very in-depth section was dedicated to supercritical water gasification (SCWG). The most used reactors in gasification processes are fluidized bed reactors together with air or steam as gasifying agents. Tar removal is commonly performed using olivine, dolomite, or nickel based catalysts. SCWG has numerous advantages including the inhibition of tar and coke formation and can be used to remove microplastics from the marine environment. In co-gasification of plastic material with coal or biomass, synergistic effects are observed between the raw materials, which improve the performance of the process, allowing to obtain higher gas yields and a syngas with a high energy content. Full article
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