NanoEcotox - Ecotoxicology of Nanomaterials

Nanotechnology is considered to be one of the key technologies of the 21st century. In many production processes different classes of materials such as metals (e.g. iron, silver and gold) and metal oxides (silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide, aluminum oxide), carbon molecules (fullerenes and nanotubes) and other organic nanomaterials (e.g. polymer nanoparticles) are applied. Nanomaterials (1-100 µm) range from aggregates and powders, which may be dispersed on colloids, tubes and nano-layers to complex organic molecules. As a result of their increasing use nanomaterials get directly or indirectly into the (aquatic) environment and may cause adverse effects on biological systems.

In 2007, the OECD initiated the Sponsorship Programme on the testing on manufactured nanomaterials. As an OECD member country, Germany is a lead sponsor for titanium dioxide (n-TiO2) and a co-sponsor for nano-silver (n-Ag). Our department is involved in the OECD Sponsorship Programme and deals in particular with the effects of n-TiO2 and n-Ag on the aquatic biocoenosis in surface waters.

Up to now only a few in vitro cytotoxicity studies as well as acute toxicity tests with aquatic invertebrates are available but there is a gap of knowledge on long-term studies. For that reason we focus on multi-generation studies using filter feeders (Daphnia magna, Dreissena polymorpha) and grazers (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) as test organisms. Before testing we perform an extensive particle characterization using dynamic light scattering (zeta sizer) and transmission electron microscopy.

Project team:

Carolin Völker (c.voelker(at)
Sabrina Giebner (giebner(at)
Cathinka Boedicker (cathinka.boedicker(at)
Jan Daubenthaler (XxStreamerxX(at)
Claudia Jacobasch (claudia.jacobasch(at)
Prof. Dr. Jörg Oehlmann (oehlmann(at)
Dr. Matthias Oetken (oetken(at)
Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt
Department Aquatic Ecotoxicology
Siesmayerstr. 70
D-60054 Frankfurt am Main
phone ++ 49-69 79824900
fax ++ 49-69 79824748

Funded by
German National Academic Foundation