Project Summary

Mission and vision

NanoFATE was conceived to fill knowledge and methodological gaps currently impeding sound assessment of environmental risks posed by engineered nanoparticles (ENPs). Our vision led us to assess environmental ENP fate and risk in selected high-volume products for which recycling is not an option, namely: fuel additive, personal care and antibacterial products. Two market ENPs from each product (CeO2, ZnO, Ag of varying size, surface and core chemistries) were followed through their post-production life cycles - from environmental entry as “spent product”, through waste treatment to their final fates and potential toxic effects. In this way we tested the applicability of current fate and risk assessment methods and identified improvements required for early stage assessment of ENPs.

Overall Objectives

Nanofate delivered a systematic study of the environmental fate and toxicity of selected ENPs, to support delivery of novel ENP risk quantification methods. Nine Science & Technology objectives were addressed:

1 Design, tagging and manufacture of ENPs
2 Analysis of ENP interactions with abiotic and biotic entities
3 Generating predictive models for ENP exposure in waters and sludge-amended soils
4 Studying the fate and behaviour of ENPs through wastewater treatment
5 Determining acute and chronic ecotoxicity
6 Assessing effects of physico-chemical properties on ENP bioavailability
7 Defining mechanisms of uptake, internal trafficking, and toxicity
8 Developing spatial risk assessment model(s)
9 Improving understanding of ENP risks


NanoFATE provided robust tools, techniques and knowledge needed by stakeholders to understand and communicate risks associated with ENPs of different physical or chemical properties, including their environmental interactions and toxicity. Explore our website to learn how.