Science Highlights from the NanoFASE Consortium Meeting - Malta 2019

Reported by Dr Richard Cross (NERC CEH)

In March 2019, H2020 NanoFASE researchers came together in Malta for the 42nd Month Consortium Meeting of our four-year project "Nanomaterial Fate and Speciation in the Environment". We identified scientific advances and set targets for our final months.

Read our two-page article on science highlights from the Malta meeting

NanoFASE modelling of fate and transformations in environmental compartments has taken a novel dynamic approach, tracking both nano form and mass over time. In this way we enable risk assessment to go beyond the "steady state" concepts and capacity of many models for traditional chemicals. Particular developments include:

  • Improved understanding of the exposure-relevant form of the nanomaterials leaving the waste stream, with emission models for a range of metal and metal oxide nanomaterials at European scale and with forecasts for the next 20 years.
  • A spatially resolved, Europe-wide atmospheric model that can provide concentrations and deposition of ENM on an hourly basis. 
  • Modelling of fate and transformations of engineered nanomaterials in soils with good prediction of field measurements of zero valent iron nanomaterial movements.
  • Methodological development of soil column tests that will inform an OECD guidance document.
  • Single particle ICP-MS to measure the biological fate of complex core-shell structured nanomaterials upon uptake by organisms.
  • Detailed examination of the fate and transformations of nano-pesticides in the rhizosphere, a hitherto poorly understood zone in soils in terms of engineered nanomaterial fate. 

At Malta we also set our final targets: consolidating our Exposure Assessment Framework with clickable online access; preparing a NanoSafety Cluster environmental White Paper to inform the EC and ECHA on the knowledge we have developed; and our public Concluding Conference to be held in conjunction with ICEENN 2019 in Vienna next September!