Masters Thesis (Dubendorf, Switzerland)

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles are being produced and used in greater and greater quantities and the toxicological effects of these nanoparticles to environmental systems are currently not well understood. To date most of the aquatic ecotoxicological studies of the environmental effects of TiO2 nanomaterials have focused on pelagic organisms; however, many studies show that when TiO2 nanomaterials enter the environment they readily aggregate and settle from the water column. This indicates that benthic systems may be more exposed to TiO2 nanoparticles than pelagic organisms.

This Masters thesis will focus on the potential for toxic effects of TiO2 nanoparticles on benthic food chains. As benthic biofilms are composed of many different types of organisms, including primary producers (such as heterotrophic bacteria) and predacious organisms (such as nematodes, rotifers and protozoa), this Masters thesis will focus on the effects of nanoparticles to these two broad groups of test organisms. By using heterotrophic biofilms we aim to determine if nanoparticles can be taken up by heterotrophic biofilms or become trapped in the extracellular matrix of these biofilms, and do these interactions result in toxic effects to the biofilms. By using predacious organisms we aim to determine if titanium dioxide nanoparticles be transferred through a benthic food chain from benthic biofilms to biofilm predators and then determine what effects this food chain transfer has on these higher level predators.
Determining the toxicity of titanium dioxide nanoparticles to heterotrophic biofilms and the ability for trophic transfer of nanoparticles through a benthic food chain, this Masters thesis will provide much needed information for assessing the environmental implications of our growing use of TiO2 nanoparticles.

Carl Isacson
carl.isaacson(a)eawag.ch
Kristin.Schirmer(a)eawag.ch
Dubendorf, Switzerland

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Publications by A. Paszternák:

The potential use of cellophane test strips for the quick determination of food colours

pH and CO2 Sensing by Curcumin-Coloured Cellophane Test Strip

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Directed Deposition of Nickel Nanoparticles Using Self-Assembled Organic Template,

Organometallic deposition of ultrasmooth nanoscale Ni film,

Zigzag-shaped nickel nanowires via organometallic template-free route

Surface analytical characterization of passive iron surface modified by alkyl-phosphonic acid layers

Atomic Force Microscopy Studies of Alkyl-Phosphonate SAMs on Mica

Amorphous iron formation due to low energy heavy ion implantation in evaporated 57Fe thin films

Surface modification of passive iron by alkylphosphonic acid layers

Formation and structure of alkylphosphonic acid layers on passive iron

Structure of the nonionic surfactant triethoxy monooctylether C8E3 adsorbed at the free water surface, as seen from surface tension measurements and Monte Carlo simulations