SETAC Europe Meeting, Barcelona

May 3rd - 7th 2015, Barcelona


The innovative use of chemicals and nanomaterials in new technologies, industry and agriculture challenges many aspects of the ecosystem functioning of the global environment. However, these new technologies and materials also offer opportunities to remediate or minimise these anthropogenic insults. Finding innovative solutions to environmental problems is ever more important in the current economic scenario. For SETAC, this is a challenge we relish.


During the SETAC Conference several session will be held - with regard to nanomaterials we want to draw your attention to the follwoing sessions:

Session: Leaving the comfort zone. The challnge of measuring nanoparticles in complex matrices

Session leader: Patrick S. Bäuerlein (KWR, The Netherlands) & Ralf Kaegi (EAWAG, Switzerland)


Engineered nanoparticles (ENP) are by definition particles with at least one dimension between 1 and 100 nm and can occur in a variety of shapes (spheres, platelets, rods) and elemental compositions (Ag, TiO2, C-based). Often they are synthesised with different capping agents (citrate, PVP, gum arabic). They are produced and used in various consumer products at increasing volumes. Examples include sunscreens, mouth wash and textiles, but also food packing materials as well as food additives. Several research reports have already documented the release of ENP into the aquatic environment. However, to develop a scientific understanding of i) the release patterns, ii) the transformation reactions in the environment and iii) the environmental distribution of ENP analytical tools are urgently needed. These tools must enable the detection, quantification and characterisation of ENM in aqueous matrices, food and soils.


Recently developed and/or substantially improved analytical techniques such as single particle ICP-MS, Orbitrap MS and field flow fractionation (FFF) coupled mass spectrometry, dynamic and static light scattering as well as single particle ICP-MS have opened a new research front in analytical chemistry. Using sophisticated analytical tools and combinations thereof, ENP in both their pristine and transformed state after being exposed to different environmental conditions have been investigated in unprecedented detail. Due to the enormous progress recently made in this research field ENP can be accurately quantified in simple matrices. The next challenge is to make these highly sophisticated techniques compatible with complex matrices, which ultimately will allow the detection and quantification of ENP in natural environments.

This session aims to integrate contributions focussing on latest developments for nanoparticle analysis including sample preparation techniques and to provoke a discussion about most pressing research questions in that field. We invite researchers from academia, government, industry and research institutes to share their latest findings and experiences on methods used for the detection and characterisation of nanomaterials in various matrices, such as food, soil, surface- or wastewater.


Session: Nanoparticle (NP) speciation and its consequences for NP environmental fate and effects

Session leader: Susana Loureiro (University of Aveiro, Portugal), Claus Svendsen & Steve Lofts (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, GB), Geert Cornelis (University of Gothenburg, Sweden), Kees Van Gestel (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

In waste management facilities (e.g. waste treatment plants) nanomaterials may be subject to transformation processes (e.g. coating transformation/loss/replacement, partial dissolution, and chemical modification) that influence their physicochemical properties and subsequent behavior following release to the environment, including further transformations. Understanding the behaviour, bioaccumulation and toxicity of such transformed nanomaterials, as opposed to the as-manufactured materials, is a clear priority for nanomaterial environmental research since the transformed materials represent the nanomaterial actually released into the environment. Subsequent nanomaterial transformations within environmental compartments are important for accurately understanding nanoparticle fate and toxicity, so information on nanoparticle (NP) speciation is of major importance to understand to what extent and via what pathways they will reach biological receptors. This session will focus on in-situ studies that relate fate, uptake and effects in organisms to nanoparticle physicochemical form (speciation) in the environment, both by experimental and/or modelling approaches. This session relates to nanoparticle speciation in different environmental compartments and their transport in and between these compartments, both abiotic (soil, sediment and water) but also including internalization in organisms, accumulation and potential recycling into the environment.


Session: Multistress in aquatic environments: the big picture

Session leader: Laura Giamberini (University of Lorraine, France), Catherine Mouneyrac (University Catholique de l´Quest, France), Silvia Mohr (Federal Environment Agency, Germany), Valentina Colombo (University of Melbourne, Australia)


Marine and freshwater aquatic organisms are facing multiple stress, occurring either steadily or sequentially, which are caused by natural or anthropogenic factors such as pollutants, eutrophication, temperature, salinity, pathogens, food availability, competition etc. Multiple environmental stressors can lead to synergistic or antagonistic effects on organisms or can also interact together to induce additional unexpected stresses. The understanding of the final impacts of a variety of simultaneously occurring environmental stressors is essential to develop predictive capabilities and response strategies. Although multiple stress approaches have received growing interest in the last decade from researchers and stakeholders within the field of environmental sciences and management, such studies are relatively scarce or most often restricted to chemical mixtures, and the knowledge is still lacking particularly concerning methodologies for studying complex systems or realistic environmental conditions. Several authors have been advocating the use of ‘multiple lines of evidence’ approaches in order to get a “big picture” of the toxicological effects caused by pollutants. The integration of multiple methods and approaches involving biological responses at different temporal and spatial scales and at different levels of biological organization can provide better overall information for decision-making and minimise uncertainties. In this session, preference will be given to presentations that discuss the assessment of biological effects from a holistic point of view, for example a combination of laboratory testing and field sampling, fate and effects modelling, monitoring of chemicals in the environment, multi-species and/or cosms experiments.


Further information and the full programm of the Conference is avaible on the conference´s website. Click here.