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NANOAu - Effects of Gold Nanoparticles to Aquatic Organisms
Coordinator - Marcelino Miguel Oliveira
Programme - PTDC/MAR-EST/3399/2012
Execution dates - 2013-07-03 - 2015-07-02 (24 Months)
Funding Entity - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Funding for CESAM - 199952 €
Total Funding - 199952 €
Proponent Institution - Universidade de Aveiro


The tremendous proliferation in the use frequency and applications of man-made nanoparticles (NPs) is likely to lead, in the next years, to its augmentation in the environment. All NPs reaching the aquatic or terrestrial biosphere will interact with biota and potentially induce adverse effects on biological systems, including humans [1]. Among the most used NPs, are the gold ones (GNPs) which have been increasingly used in several products (e.g., hair tonics, cosmetics, toothbrushes, etc.) and biomedical applications (e.g. diagnostics, imaging and therapeutics) due to their excellent size-dependent physical properties [2]. One of the basic prerequisites for using GNPs is their non-toxic and biocompatible nature to both in vivo and in vitro environments. However, recent (in vitro and in vivo) investigations highlighted their toxicity, raising important concerns on their possible impact on the human health and the environment [2]. Thus, the effects of these particles on cell cytotoxicity has recently become a hot topic [3]. Publications reporting toxicity of GNPs are recently increasing (e.g. [2, 4], in contrast with other papers that report their safety (e.g. [5]). Differences in the batches of GNPs used in toxicology tests, experimental conditions, and the numerous cell lines/ animal models employed render the biological outcomes not always comparable. Despite the growing concern over the potential detrimental impact of NPs on the natural environment, little is known about their effects to marine species and their interactions with other environmental contaminants. Project NanoAu intends to increase the knowledge on the effects of GNPs to marine organisms, using gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata), one of the most important marine fish (in fishery and aquaculture) and a voracious top predator, as a model organism.




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