YPIE Scientist: Brennan

Updated: Jun 10

Research: The Effect of Nanoparticle Pollution on Aquatic Microorganisms and the Environment

Awards: Somers Science Fair 2022 Participant

Mentors: Joel Rodriguez and Jason Bonet

Research Location: Groundwork HV Science Barge


Environmental levels of nanoparticles are expected to rise continually given the widespread and expanding application of these materials. These nanoparticles can be found in everyday objects such as sports equipment, electronic components etc. Along with the use of manufactured nanoparticles expanding, concerns for potential toxicity of these compounds against nontarget organisms have been rising. Further studies must be done to explore interactions that could occur with the numerous environmental pollutants using these toxic mechanisms in non-target aquatic organisms such as plankton/algae. In the experiment, two levels of either ZnO/CuO-NPs treatments in alkaline and acidic water (1mg and 10mg ZnO/CuO-NPs per g of either water) will be set up including a control using neutral water (without the usage of metal-oxide NPs). Through two significant tests, the LC50 96h Test and the Lab Microcosm Test, we will be able to see different amounts of concentrations of metal-oxide nanoparticles and their effect on important processes in ecosystems. The LC50 96h Test is seen through the adverse effects of CuO-NPs to common carp. Concentrations of CuO-NPs at different recorded times have shown major correlations between different concentrations of CuO-NPs and number of dead fish. In addition, changes of Dehydrogenase (DH) and Fluorescent diacetate hydrolase (FDAH) activity have been seen over time through various treatments of ZnO-NPs and control samples of soil, a study found in microorganisms. Therefore, higher lethal concentration would have more of a fatal effect on DH and FDAH activity, respiration and ammonification rates will show an increase in effect based off of increased lethal concentration. Water type will also affect the toxicity between the heavy-metal oxide NPs. Toxicity will be the strongest in the acidic water followed by the neutral water, and least toxic in the alkaline water. Understanding the adverse effects on aquatic organisms from different concentration levels of metal-oxide NPs will help us better understand interactions that could occur with numerous environmental pollutants.

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