This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the Joint Environment and Human Health Programme: Annual Science Day Conference and Workshop

Open Access Open Badges Research

Assessing exposure, uptake and toxicity of silver and cerium dioxide nanoparticles from contaminated environments

Birgit K Gaiser1, Teresa F Fernandes1, Mark Jepson2, Jamie R Lead3, Charles R Tyler4 and Vicki Stone1*

Author Affiliations

1 Edinburgh Napier University, Merchiston Campus, Edinburgh EH10 5DT, UK

2 Cell Imaging Facility and Department of Biochemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK

3 School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK

4 Environmental and Molecular Fish Biology, The Hatherly Laboratories, University of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter EX4 4PS, UK

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Environmental Health 2009, 8(Suppl 1):S2  doi:10.1186/1476-069X-8-S1-S2

Published: 21 December 2009


The aim of this project was to compare cerium oxide and silver particles of different sizes for their potential for uptake by aquatic species, human exposure via ingestion of contaminated food sources and to assess their resultant toxicity. The results demonstrate the potential for uptake of nano and larger particles by fish via the gastrointestinal tract, and by human intestinal epithelial cells, therefore suggesting that ingestion is a viable route of uptake into different organism types. A consistency was also shown in the sensitivity of aquatic, fish cell and human cell models to Ag and CeO2 particles of different sizes; with the observed sensitivity sequence from highest to lowest as: nano-Ag > micro Ag > nano CeO2 = micro CeO2. Such consistency suggests that further studies might allow extrapolation of results between different models and species.