ENTRANS (Investigating the ENvironmental impacts of TRANSformed engineered nanomaterials released from wastewater treatment plants) is an interdisciplinary four-year project funded by the Research Council of Norway (Nano2021 call) and brings together scientists from fields of environmental, material science and material characterization, chemistry, biology, nanotoxicology and risk assessment.
The project aims to understand the physicochemical transformation processes impacting engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in receiving environments released through wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and how this influences their bioavailability, bioaccumulation and subsequent toxicity potential in the relevant environmental compartments.
Challenge and needs
There is a lack of robust and reproducible data on the environmental concentrations of ENM, especially the incorporation of ENM transformation processes into modelling and hazard assessments. As a result, current knowledge on ENM exposure and hazards is insufficient for a robust environmental risk assessment.
Moreover, exposure and effect studies are being conducted at high concentrations without taking environmentally relevant conditions and environmental transformations into account.
In addition, long-term experiments are needed to provide a complete picture of ENM transfer to terrestrial ecosystems through sewage sludge application on agricultural soils. Studies on WWTP and environmentally transformed ENM, long-term sublethal effects, uptake, bioaccumulation and exposure of benthic organisms are still lacking for both the marine and freshwater environments. As the physicochemical properties of ENM determine their environmental fate and interaction with cells/organisms (e.g. toxicity), transformed ENM must be incorporated into fate-exposure and dose-response assessment and modelling.
ENTRANS will be coordinated by NIVA in close collaboration with the national partners SINTEF and NIBIO and the international partners Imperial College London (UK) and EAWAG (Switzerland).
ENTRANS has received funding by the Research Council of Norway.