Standard Article

Nanoparticles: Environmental Effects

Environmental Technology and Engineering

  1. Michala E. Pettitt,
  2. Isabella Römer,
  3. Jamie R. Lead

Published Online: 15 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.vnn130

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Pettitt, M. E., Römer, I. and Lead, J. R. 2013. Nanoparticles: Environmental Effects. Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 4.

Author Information

  1. University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JAN 2013


Manufactured nanoparticles (NPs) possess novel physicochemical properties which may have unforeseen environmental effects. Accurately describing the ecotoxicity of NPs requires a more complete understanding of their properties and behavior in vitro. The metric chosen as the descriptor of dose can profoundly influence the interpretation of the dose-response curve and derived ecotoxicity endpoints. Accurately determining the actual dose (or exposure) received by a test organism during ecotoxicity assays requires appropriate characterization of particles in situ in exposure media. Characterization should be conducted before and after exposure, as a minimum. Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are the most common nanomaterial currently in commercial production and are predicted to have pervasive release to aquatic environments. Mechanisms of action for AgNPs are discussed and cytotoxic, genotoxic and whole-organism endpoints are reviewed.


  • nanomaterials;
  • nanoparticles;
  • ecotoxicity;
  • bioavailability;
  • dose metric;
  • aggregation;
  • dissolution;
  • silver;
  • mechanism of action