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Ecotoxicology of Nanomaterial

Nanomaterial is a general term for materials with a physical dimension between 1-100 nm (for further definition see e.g. EU). The societal implementations of these materials are viewed as highly beneficial (“3rd industrial revolution”), however, there are also clear concerns regarding human and environmental health following implementation of such materials, this issue needs  to be studied (see e.g. OECD WPMN, EU).

Within the Department, the nanomaterial related research focuses on understanding (i) the mode of action for these materials within biological tissue, and (ii) how to evaluate risk of such materials. The mode of action studied is performed through the use of a variety of techniques including gene expression (e.g. QPCR, Microarrays see), biomarkers (e.g. ROS), and phenotypic markers (e.g. growth, reproductive output and survival). There is a particular focus on terrestrial organisms, e.g. earthworms and springtails). The risk evaluation work focuses on intelligent research strategies and conceptual approaches for evaluating risks, all coupled with how such approaches can be implemented in regulation. The information from these studies is fed into the regulation, besides being published in peer reviewed journals.

Potential student projects:

There is a continuous involvement of both master and PhD students, working collaboratively on identifying the mode of action and how this can be used in risk assessment.


Soil Fauna Ecology and Ecotoxicology
Aarhus Universitet
Institut for Bioscience
Vejlsøvej 25
8600 Silkeborg

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