Project Profile

Project Title Toxicity of nano particles against the earthworm and its potential as bio-transformation agent
Project Code 2014NT02
Project Status Ongoing
Start Date December 2014
Sponsor(s) Department of Biotechnology

Nano-particles in the range of 1-100 nm have been present on earth since its existence and have been used by mankind for thousands of years. Among various nanomaterials, the intense interest in the metallic nano-particles (MNPs) is due to their unique chemical and electronic properties arising from the small volume to big surface area ratio and the separation in the electronic energy level. The change in the properties at this length scale from their bulk counterparts is not only as a result of scaling factors but also from different causes from different materials. Nanoscale materials find use in a number of areas such as electronic, biomedical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, energy, environmental, catalytic, and material application.
Nowadays, in addition to the great amount of nanoparticles released from combustion processes, more and more nanoparticles from nanotechnological industry continue to grow and appear in the air, water, plant, soil and many other environmental mediums. Since new properties usually emerge in nano-scaled particles, it is emergent to know about their typical toxicological and environmental effects via direct and indirect exposure and their biotransformation.
The main objectives of this project are to:

investigate the changes in physico-chemical nature of MNPs in different regions of earthworm gut;

study the effect of ZnO and TiO2 NPs on the survival of earthworms and their reproduction;

study the effect of MNPs on release of enzymes from epithelial cells of worm gut;

characterize the intracellular localization of physico-chemical changes in different regions of earthworm gut using fluorescent confocal microscopy and electron microscopy technique;

screening of soil bacteria detoxifying the MNPs.