Nanoparticles (NPs) are defined as having at least one external dimension between 1 and 100 nm. Due to their small size, NPs have a large surface area to volume ratio giving them unique characteristics that differ from bulk material of the same chemical composition. As a result these novel materials have found numerous applications in medical and industrial fields with the result that environmental exposure to NPs is increasingly likely. Similarly, increased reliance on plastic, which degrades extremely slowly in the environment, is resulting in increased accumulation of micro-/nano-plastics in fresh and marine waters, whose ecotoxicological impacts are as yet poorly understood. Although NPs are well known to adsorb macromolecules from their environment, forming a biomolecule corona which changes the NP identity and how it interacts with organisms, significantly less research has been performed on the ecological corona (eco-corona). Secretion of biomolecules is a well established predator–prey response in aquatic food chains, raising the question of whether NPs interact with secreted proteins, and the impact of such interaction on NP uptake and ecotoxicity. We report here initial studies, including optimisation of protocols using carboxylic-acid and amino modified spherical polystyrene NPs, to assess interaction of NPs with biomolecules secreted by Daphnia magna and the impact of these interactions on NP uptake, retention and toxicity towards Daphnia magna.
Fatima Nasser, Iseult Lynchn, Journal of Proteomics, Volume 137, Pages 45–51, Environment and (Prote)-OMICS, 30 March 2016