Nanoparticles Impact Fish through the Food Chain
Summary posted by Meridian on 3/22/2012
Source: Science Nordic (22 March 2012)
Author(s): Asle Rønning
Researchers from the University of Lund, Sweden, have shown that nanoparticles can survive several links in the food chain. In the study, the researchers grew algae in a tank of water containing nanoparticles; the algae absorbed the nanoparticles; the algae were then fed to animal plankton; and, eventually the plankton was fed to fish. The behavior of the fish that consumed the zooplankton changed. According to Tommy Cedervall, one of the researchers, “The fish stopped eating and searching for food.” The fish allowed zooplankton to swim in and out of their mouths without even trying to eat them. Moreover, when placed on a moderate diet, the fish that had been exposed to the zooplankton did not lose weight. The scientists speculate that the nanoparticles cling to certain types of protein the fish need to transport fats through their bloodstream. The team found indications of a decrease in the burning of fats in the fish, which supports their hypothesis. It’s the first study showing that nanoparticles can be carried up the food chain, eventually accumulating in animals atop the pyramid. The team works in the field of nanosecurity, meaning they map which kinds of nanoparticles are dangerous and which are not. “The goal of our research is to find out how to make particles that won’t be harmful,” says Cedervall. Their work was published in the journal PLoS One.
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