An investigation of the toxicological effects of nanomaterial exposure and degradation in the environment

July 12, 2012

Jacob Williamson from the Colorado School of Mines is a Runner-up winner to BMG LABTECH’s SPECTROstar Nano promotion.

Image of Dr EJ Dell
Dr EJ Dell
PhD, Sales Manager Northwest

He proposed to use the SPECTROstar Nano to investigate the toxicology effects of nanomaterials in our environment. The goals of the project “are to provide quality environmental toxicological information for the regulation of nanomaterials and to present a possible system or model to aid in the prediction of possible environmental harm from the production, use and waste of nanomaterials.” One particular aspect of nanomaterial that will be studied is quantum dot weathering and how toxic chemicals can be released due to pH, water hardness, light exposure, aggregation, oxidation, and metal-metal competition.


The SPECTROstar Nano would be used to measure that amount of beta-galactosidase that is released from bacteria in the presence or absence of degraded nanomaterial. Presumably the more toxic the nanomaterial, the fewer bacteria that will be alive and this can be quantified with the SPECTROstar Nano. In addition, the incubation and shaking parameters of the SPECTROstar Nano will be used to aid in the nanomaterial degradation, while the gas vent will be used to change atmospheric conditions (i.e. hypoxia) to see the effect on the nanomaterial.


The researchers propose that “The data gathered from this project will be instrumental in understanding what happens when nanomaterials are released into the environment.” They hope to predict or prevent any toxicological damage that could be caused by this new and emerging nanomaterial field.

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