Special Issue "The Toxicology of Nanomaterials, Including Modelling Nano-/Microplastics"

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991). This special issue belongs to the section "Biology and Medicines".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Janeck James Scott-Fordsmand
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Bioscience - Soil Fauna Ecology and Ecotoxicology,Vejlsovej 25, Aarhus University, DK-8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
Interests: nano- /micro-toxicology including; mechanisms; general models; risk assessment; knowledge integration and transfer
Dr. Mónica Amorim
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology & CESAM, University of Aveiro, 3810-193, Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: nanotoxicology; toxicogenomics; soil ecotoxicology; mechanisms of response; systems toxicology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There has been tremendous progress in the development of novel nanomaterials (see other issues of this journal), including, among others, sophisticated doped-nanoparticles, complex metal-organic nanowires, functionalized graphene, and advanced hybrid coatings, scaffolds and plastics. There has been an equally tremendous advancement in the methodologies to investigate the potential toxicity of nanomaterials to humans and the environment, with novel methods covering, e.g., long-term toxicity, highly specific pathways, bioaccumulation, and the life-cycle of the organisms. However, there has been an insufficient interaction between the material developers/-modelers and the environmental/human-health experts; the very reason for this special issue. Although it is known that the nanomaterial toxicity depends on the material composition, structure, coating, size, etc., there is a need to further emphasize approaches (e.g., modelling or ranking) that take into account the novel developments. Further, considering that the descriptors in general remain the same for nano- and micro materials and that 100 nm is not a strict threshold in regard to the material-biology interactions, this means that nanomaterial studies should also be able to provide valuable insight into the toxicity of sub-micro and micro-size materials, even entering the micro-plastic ranges. 

This Special Issue will focus broadly on the toxicity of nanomaterials and welcome a broad array of studies. Particularly important will be to obtain a mixture of articles with different approaches and materials, in which there is a discussion on the usefulness of the respective studies to elicit other materials or endpoints. This covers papers focusing on both specific and general toxicity, among others including omics response, bioaccumulation, secondary-poisoning, long-term consequences, and multigenerational issues.

Dr. Janeck James Scott-Fordsmand
Dr. Mónica Amorim
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. Nanomaterials is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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

  • Modelling
  • Environment
  • Human Health, ecotoxicology
  • Nanomaterials
  • Micromaterials
  • Microplastics

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Detection of Metal-Doped Fluorescent PVC Microplastics in Freshwater Mussels
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(12), 2363; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10122363 - 27 Nov 2020
Abstract
The large-scale production of plastic and the resulting release of waste is leading to a huge accumulation of micro-sized particles in the environment that could have an impact on not only aquatic organisms but also on humans. Despite the extensive literature on the [...] Read more.
The large-scale production of plastic and the resulting release of waste is leading to a huge accumulation of micro-sized particles in the environment that could have an impact on not only aquatic organisms but also on humans. Despite the extensive literature on the subject, there is still an insufficient harmonization of methodologies for the collection and analysis of microplastics (MPs) in complex matrices; especially for high density polymers; such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which tend to sink and accumulate in sediments, becoming available to benthonic organisms. In this article, mussels have been chosen as model for microplastic accumulation due to their extensive filtering activity and their wide distribution in both fresh and salt water basins. To facilitate the identification and quantification of microplastics taken up by mussels, novel fluorescent and metal-doped PVC microplastics (PVC-Platinum octaethylporphyrin (PtOEP) MPs in the size range of 100 µm) have been synthesized and characterized. For the analysis of the mussels following exposure, an enzymatic protocol using amylase, lipase, papain, and SDS for organic material digestion and a sucrose-ZnCl2 density gradient for the selective separation of ingested microplastics has been developed. The final identification of MPs was performed by fluorescence microscopy. This work can greatly benefit the scientific community by providing a means to study the behavior of PVC MPs, which represent an example of a very relevant yet poorly studied high density polymeric contaminant commonly found in complex environmental matrices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multigenerational Exposure to WCCo Nanomaterials—Epigenetics in the Soil Invertebrate Enchytraeus crypticus
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(5), 836; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10050836 - 27 Apr 2020
Abstract
It has become clear how important it is to assess longer term effects of (nano) materials in the environment given the current evidence showing how epigenetics drives response mechanisms. Here we studied global DNA methylation in standard soil invertebrate Enchytraeus crypticus over 224 [...] Read more.
It has become clear how important it is to assess longer term effects of (nano) materials in the environment given the current evidence showing how epigenetics drives response mechanisms. Here we studied global DNA methylation in standard soil invertebrate Enchytraeus crypticus over 224 days when exposed to nanostructured tungsten carbide cobalt (WCCo nanomaterials (NMs)) and to cobalt (CoCl2) in a multigenerational experiment. In order to assess the transgenerational effect, we used a multigenerational (MG) test design consisting of four generations in spiked soil followed by two generations in clean soil. Results showed that MG exposure to WCCo NMs caused global DNA methylation to increase, which continued in unexposed generations and was associated with an increase in reproduction (phenotypic effect). In general, WCCo NMs caused more (and more consistent) methylation than CoCl2. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Amorphous Silica Nanopowders on the Avoidance Behavior of Five Soil Species—A Screening Study
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(3), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10030402 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Silica nanoparticles (SiO2NPs) are one of the most used in commercial products and biomedical tools, however, their environmental effects have not been fully described. Although negative effects of SiO2NPs on the behavior of freshwater invertebrates have been reported, the [...] Read more.
Silica nanoparticles (SiO2NPs) are one of the most used in commercial products and biomedical tools, however, their environmental effects have not been fully described. Although negative effects of SiO2NPs on the behavior of freshwater invertebrates have been reported, the knowledge is limited, especially the effect of nanopowders in terrestrial organisms. Accordingly, the aim of the present study is to understand the effects of SiO2NPs on the avoidance behavior of five soil species, whose niche may differ thus contributing to differential harmful SiO2NPs effects. Hence, avoidance assays testing SiO2NPs concentrations of 0, 10, 100, 250, 500 and 1000 mg/kg were performed with Enchytraeus crypticus, Folsomia candida, Tenebrio molitor, Porcellionides pruinosus and Eisenia fetida. SiO2NPs induced different behavioral effects, depending on the invertebrate ecology/habitat, exposure route and physiology. T. molitor, P. pruinosus and F. candida did not avoid contaminated soil; however, E. crypticus and E. fetida significantly avoided SiO2NPs spiked soil. Since these terrestrial worms (oligochaetes) live mostly burrowed in the soil, this can provide greater opportunity for SiO2NPs’ uptake. On the other hand, the other tested organisms mainly living on the upper part of the soil did not avoid the SiO2NPs spiked soil. The avoidance data obtained here also highlight the need for further studies to understand whether (or not) the detected behavioral responses are linked to either neurotransmission processes or sensorial aspects of the biological models. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cell In Vitro Testing with Soil Invertebrates—Challenges and Opportunities toward Modeling the Effect of Nanomaterials: A Surface-Modified CuO Case Study
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(8), 1087; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9081087 - 29 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Soil invertebrates have been widely used in ecotoxicology studies for decades, although their use as in vitro models, albeit promising, has not been pursued as much. The immune cells of earthworms (coelomocytes) and the coelomic fluid can be used, and are a highly [...] Read more.
Soil invertebrates have been widely used in ecotoxicology studies for decades, although their use as in vitro models, albeit promising, has not been pursued as much. The immune cells of earthworms (coelomocytes) and the coelomic fluid can be used, and are a highly relevant in vitro system. Although it has been tested before, to cover the testing of nanomaterials (NMs), several challenges should be considered. NMs characteristics (dispersibility, agglomeration, etc.) can interfere with the common in vitro methodologies, not only during exposure, but also during the measurements. Here, we have assessed the effect of a CuO NMs case study using surface-modified particles, functionalized for safe-by-design strategies with ascorbate, citrate, polyethylenimine, and polyvinylpyrrolidinone, plus the pristine CuO NMs and copper chloride (CuCl2) for comparison. Eisenia fetida’s coelomocytes were exposed for 24 h via the coelomic fluid. Changes in cell viability were evaluated using flow cytometry. All materials affected the cells in a dose-related manner, where CuCl2 was the most toxic followed by the citrate-coated CuO NM. There was a strong correlation between NM characteristics, e.g., the hydrodynamic size, and the EC50 (50% Effect Concentrations) values. This screening further confirms the potential for the usage of the standard earthworm model as an in vitro standard. Further detailed in vitro studies are needed using other NMs aiming toward their implementation and standardization. Additional cell endpoints can also be assessed, making it a high content tool for mechanistic understanding. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Graphene-Based Nanomaterials in Soil: Ecotoxicity Assessment Using Enchytraeus crypticus Reduced Full Life Cycle
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(6), 858; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9060858 - 05 Jun 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Graphene-based nanomaterials (GBNs) possess unique physicochemical properties, allowing a wide range of applications in physical, chemical, and biomedical fields. Although GBNs are broadly used, information about their adverse effects on ecosystem health, especially in the terrestrial environment, is limited. Therefore, this study aims [...] Read more.
Graphene-based nanomaterials (GBNs) possess unique physicochemical properties, allowing a wide range of applications in physical, chemical, and biomedical fields. Although GBNs are broadly used, information about their adverse effects on ecosystem health, especially in the terrestrial environment, is limited. Therefore, this study aims to assess the toxicity of two commonly used derivatives of GBNs, graphene oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxide (rGO), in the soil invertebrate Enchytraeus crypticus using a reduced full life cycle test. At higher exposure concentrations, GO induced high mortality and severe impairment in the reproduction rate, while rGO showed little adverse effect up to 1000 mg/kg. Collectively, our body of results suggests that the degree of oxidation of GO correlates with their toxic effects on E. crypticus, which argues against generalization on GBNs ecotoxicity. Identifying the key factors affecting the toxicity of GBNs, including ecotoxicity, is urgent for the design of safe GBNs for commercial purposes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
CdSe/ZnS Quantum Dots Impaired the First Two Generations of Placenta Growth in an Animal Model, Based on the Shh Signaling Pathway
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(2), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9020257 - 14 Feb 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
The toxicity, especially the transgenerational toxicity of quantum dots (QDs) in vivo, is still scarcely understood in spite of great promising applications of QDs in biomedicine. In this study, the maternal status, pregnancy outcome, and fetus development of parental generation (P0) to offspring [...] Read more.
The toxicity, especially the transgenerational toxicity of quantum dots (QDs) in vivo, is still scarcely understood in spite of great promising applications of QDs in biomedicine. In this study, the maternal status, pregnancy outcome, and fetus development of parental generation (P0) to offspring in three generations (F3) were investigated after Kunming mice perinatal (GD 13-PND 5) exposure to Cd containing QDs (CdSe/ZnS QDs) and CdCl2. The results show CdSe/ZnS QDs induced placenta injuries in P0 and diminished placenta diameters in F1 and F2. Bodyweight growth decreased in the CdSe/ZnS QDs treatment group in the F1 and F2 generation. Additionally, CdSe/ZnS QDs significantly altered the expression of key genes in the Shh signal pathway. Overall, this study exhibited that the CdSe/ZnS QDs exposure during perinatal period impaired placenta growth in the first two generations, but not on the third generation. The toxicological actions of the CdSe/ZnS QDs might be through the effects on the Shh signal pathway. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Nanoparticles in Agroindustry: Applications, Toxicity, Challenges, and Trends
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(9), 1654; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10091654 - 23 Aug 2020
Abstract
Nanotechnology is a tool that in the last decade has demonstrated multiple applications in several sectors, including agroindustry. There has been an advance in the development of nanoparticulated systems to be used as fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, sensors, and quality stimulants, among other applications. [...] Read more.
Nanotechnology is a tool that in the last decade has demonstrated multiple applications in several sectors, including agroindustry. There has been an advance in the development of nanoparticulated systems to be used as fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, sensors, and quality stimulants, among other applications. The nanoencapsulation process not only protects the active ingredient but also can affect the diffusion, interaction, and activity. It is important to evaluate the negative aspects of the use of nanoparticles (NPs) in agriculture. Given the high impact of the nanoparticulated systems in the agro-industrial field, this review aims to address the effects of various nanomaterials on the morphology, metabolomics, and genetic modification of several crops. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Neurotoxicity of Nanomaterials: An Up-to-Date Overview
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(1), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9010096 - 13 Jan 2019
Cited by 19
Abstract
The field of nanotechnology, through which nanomaterials are designed, characterized, produced, and applied, is rapidly emerging in various fields, including energy, electronics, food and agriculture, environmental science, cosmetics, and medicine. The most common biomedical applications of nanomaterials involve drug delivery, bioimaging, and gene [...] Read more.
The field of nanotechnology, through which nanomaterials are designed, characterized, produced, and applied, is rapidly emerging in various fields, including energy, electronics, food and agriculture, environmental science, cosmetics, and medicine. The most common biomedical applications of nanomaterials involve drug delivery, bioimaging, and gene and cancer therapy. Since they possess unique properties which are different than bulk materials, toxic effects and long-term impacts on organisms are not completely known. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to emphasize the main neurotoxic effects induced by nanoparticles, liposomes, dendrimers, carbon nanotubes, and quantum dots, as well as the key neurotoxicology assays to evaluate them. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Health Concerns of Various Nanoparticles: A Review of Their in Vitro and in Vivo Toxicity
Nanomaterials 2018, 8(9), 634; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8090634 - 21 Aug 2018
Cited by 56
Abstract
Nanoparticles (NPs) are currently used in diagnosis and treatment of many human diseases, including autoimmune diseases and cancer. However, cytotoxic effects of NPs on normal cells and living organs is a severe limiting factor that hinders their use in clinic. In addition, diversity [...] Read more.
Nanoparticles (NPs) are currently used in diagnosis and treatment of many human diseases, including autoimmune diseases and cancer. However, cytotoxic effects of NPs on normal cells and living organs is a severe limiting factor that hinders their use in clinic. In addition, diversity of NPs and their physico-chemical properties, including particle size, shape, surface area, dispersity and protein corona effects are considered as key factors that have a crucial impact on their safe or toxicological behaviors. Current studies on toxic effects of NPs are aimed to identify the targets and mechanisms of their side effects, with a focus on elucidating the patterns of NP transport, accumulation, degradation, and elimination, in both in vitro and in vitro models. NPs can enter the body through inhalation, skin and digestive routes. Consequently, there is a need for reliable information about effects of NPs on various organs in order to reveal their efficacy and impact on health. This review covers the existing knowledge base on the subject that hopefully prepares us better to address these challenges. Full article
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