The laboratory of Rebecca Klaper just had a study published in the journal Nature Nanomaterials! Read the paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41565-022-01096-2
Engineered nanomaterials — particles that are 100 nm in one dimension and are made of various chemicals — are being incorporated into everything from cosmetics, medicine and food to car batteries. Studies have demonstrated up to a 100-fold difference in sensitivity of organisms to exposure to a given nanomaterial, but it is unclear if this is due to the differences in biochemical response of each organism or if they differ in how they take up or interact with nanomaterials in their environment.
The reason is difficult to sort out as studies are often done one organism at a time, each one measuring something different to find an answer. In this study, three model species — zebrafish, daphnia and a midge fly — were exposed to lithium cobalt oxide nanosheets, a nanomaterial used in car batteries that have a high potential for introduction into the environment through waste as there are no options for recycling. Daphnids are the most sensitive organisms, next zebrafish and chironomids are only sensitive at the higher concentrations of exposure. There were some similarities pointing to unifying mechanisms across species, but each also had unique responses that could explain sensitivity. Nanomaterial uptake differed across species but did not fully explain cross-species differences.
The work was conducted as a collaborative work within the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, supported by the NSF Centers for Chemical Innovation Program.