Engineered nanoparticles are materials which are produced purposefully by human activity and are less than 100 nm in size. Very little is, however, known about the fate, transport, and transformation of nanoparticles in aqueous systems.

How and to what extent nanoparticles influence aquatic ecosystems is not yet clear. Aim of this project will be the development and applied an ecosystem approach for understanding the mechanisms of natural and engineered nanomaterial impacts on marine planktonic ecosystem. The core idea of the project is to use HCMR mesocosm facilities ( and a food web approach in order to study the effects of engineered nanomaterial on planktoning system. The use of mesocosm experiments is an innovative approach on ecosystem response and it will be the first time such approach will be used.

These in situ mesocosms represent a community level approach and will enable us to examine the bioavailability of specific nanoparticles on marine food web and also perform toxicity tests. Novel analytical chemical procedures and biological (eg. real time PCR) will be developed. Investigating the Behavior of Metal-containing Nanoparticles (NP) in Seawater Environments will be performed using Single-Particle Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry.

The project will analyse the effects of silver and titanium nanoparticles on natural plankton communities. NP size distribution, number concentration, and metal mass fraction, for the NPs occurring in both the seawater and in marine biota will be analysed. Furthermore, the synergistic effect of co-occurrence on Silver nanoparticles and organic pollutants on marine pelagic ecosystem will be investigated.