NANOHETER – HETERoaggregation of manufactured NANOparticles with naturally occurring colloids in surface waters

As part of the risk assessment of nanotechnology, the ERA-Net SIINN project NANOHETER deals with the exposure aspect of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs), focusing on their fate in surface water. Based on the trace concentrations expected to be present, the approach claims that the dispersion stability of engineered nanoparticles in the water column is not a driving characteristic for their fate, but that their potential for interaction with the mineral and organic suspended matter occurring in surface water will be the governing factor. The aim of this project is to identify among these materials the potential carriers for engineered nanoparticles. Mechanistic, holistic and model approaches will be conducted together. The interaction of engineered nanoparticles with surrounding materials will be investigated, and the potentially induced heteroaggregation and/or sedimentation mechanisms will be studied. The goal is to deliver a probability ranking of these potential scenarios that can be used to model the fate of engineered nanoparticles in natural aqueous systems at the river scale.en.


NANOGECO – Nanoparticle generation by atomization processes in spray coating

The joint transnational research project NanoGECO will investigate in detail the generation of nanoparticles by atomization processes in spray coatings. Different paint materials both with and without manufactured nanomaterials, such as organic and inorganic pigments as well as spray guns and industrial spray cans will be used. After careful sampling of the non-volatile fraction of paint aerosols, a set of different experimental studies will be performed to characterize both non-volatile fraction as wells as the chemical substances in the paint aerosol. For this, different aerosol measuring techniques are going to be used to determine particle size distribution and particle concentration in the paint overspray for nano and sub-micron sized particles. Numerical simulations of droplet evaporation and trajectory will improve the characterization of the paint aerosol. Toxicological studies using a whole body exposure model will be carried out to evaluate the potential risk of human exposure.



Nano Safe Leather – The effect on human health of silver-titanium dioxide nanomaterials -treated leathers for footwear industry


Ecologic and health effects of applying materials with advanced functions for leather surface finishing are priorities for the European leather industry and contribute to the increase of added value and durability of leather and fur articles. The innovative properties of silver-titanium dioxide nanomaterials on leather surface are due to their antimicrobial, self-cleaning and flame retardant characteristics. Furthermore, it leads to a reduction of chemicals with high pollutant potential. The cytotoxicity study of the silver-titanium dioxide nanomaterials efficiency for leather functionalisation related to the dose response on human health is very important for their large scale application in footwear industry. In vitro assessment of the impact of silver-titanium dioxide nanomaterials use in leather surface finishing on different human cell lines will enrich knowledge regarding manufactured nanomaterials effects on human health at cellular level. Computer simulation analysis, which tests hypotheses with in silico experiments, will provide new information on the morphology of human cell.


NANOaers – Fate of aerosolized nanoparticles: the influence of surface active substances on lung deposition and respiratory effects

The use of manufactured nanomaterials (MNM) in particulate form is increasing steadily, but little is known about their fate and effects after release into the airborne state and subsequent deposition in the respiratory tract. Especially the influence of matrix effects in liquid formulations on the fate of nanomaterials, e.g. their ability to absorb other substances and serving as a carrier to otherwise inaccessible sites in the lungs of organisms still remains to be investigated. These aspects are necessary as humans and the environment are hardly exposed to manufactured nanomaterials that are not altered by any chemical substances, either coming from the products they are used in or by reactions in the atmosphere. Thus, for the first time, the ERA-Net SIINN project NANOaers addresses the open question regarding the influence of aerosolisation and of chemical surface-active substances on the fate of nanomaterials and their potential subsequent uptake by airway epithelium and effects. The project combines physicochemical and toxicological in vitro-3D cell models, precision cut lung slices (PCLS) and in vivo experiments.

This approach is being designed to describe exemplarily the different fates of two representative classes of manufactured nanomaterials relevant for inhalation exposure. To specify the nano-effect, all experiments and investigations will additionally be conducted with micro-sized particles.

  1. soluble particles with a substance-specific toxicity using the example of silver nanoparticles (Nano-Ag)
  2. granular biodurable particles (GBP) using the example of cerium dioxide nanoparticles (Nano-CeO2)

An experiment will be established which will enable the release of manufactured nanomaterials from liquid matrices into the airborne state and which allows for a controlled variation of parameters influencing aerosol formation. The fate of manufactured nanomaterials will then be investigated after deposition on airway epithelia and abiotic surfaces. The aging process in the aerosol may change the morphology, density, size range and distribution of the particles. This aging process is assumed to be affected by physicochemical properties of the manufactured nanomaterials, interaction with substances like auxiliary substances and the releasing process parameters.

Furthermore, in vitro and in vivo toxicity tests using respiratory cell types to test toxicological endpoints after deposition of manufactured nanomaterials on airway epithelia are conducted. These endpoints include cytotoxicity, pro-inflammatory cytokine expression, haemolytic capacity and lung clearance over time as well as extra-pulmonary retention, the elimination kinetics and the analysis of intracellular dose.

The work plan is completed with the development of an experimentally based model for predicting the fate of manufactured nanomaterials during spraying and aerosol transport.

The framework of the work plan is provided by three administrative work packages dealing with the coordination of the project, as well as with the dissemination of the results and with the harmonisation. The latter work package is focusing on the comparison of different analytical techniques as well as toxicity assays fostering the harmonisation between laboratories, especially on a transcontinental level.


Project Website:


NanoWIR2ES – NanoWire Intelligent Re-design and Recycling for Environmental Safety


Silver nanowires are a unique class of silver nanomaterials distinct from the commonly used silver spherical nanoparticles. As the name implies, these nanomaterials have similar nano-scale size in two dimensions but the third dimension can be longer to form a „nanowire”.

The unique properties of this conductive nanomaterial has led to the increasing use of silver nanowire (AgNW) based technologies in producing flexible touchscreen displays. However, the potential adverse effects of these „skinny but long” and reactive silver nanowires remain poorly characterised. The NanoWIR2ES consortium will guide technology development of silver nanowires toward safer options.

Diverse silver nanowires will be synthesised with varying sizes, coatings and shapes and evaluated by the consortium for potential human and environmental impacts. We will identify nanowire properties of concern and develop methods to synthesize silver nanowires with lower potential for harm. We will develop novel approaches for nanowire removal, to avoid release into landfills, and for silver capture, to enable recycling of flexible electronics.


Projekt Website:


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