Project Objectives

NanoFATE's detailed Science and Technology objectives were originally stated as follows:

#ObjectiveNanoFATE: what and why


Design and manufacture tagged engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) for tracking in fate and toxicity studies.

To undertake realistic real world fate studies, NanoFATE will design and fabricate ENPs “tagged” with selected ions that are detectable in bulk samples, thus offering real advantages over the current state-of-the-art.


Generate models for predicting the likely levels and states of ENPs in receiving waters and soils.

To improve the current state of spatial and temporal exposure assessments, NanoFATE will compile source inventories and from these data derive plausible future scenarios of release (including median and extreme predictions) for the selected nanotechnology products and associated ENPs.

3Analyse ENP interactions with environmental and biological entities using advanced microscope and physical analysis.The NanoFATE consortium will address ENP interactions with environmental and biological systems by mobilising the expertise of researchers with extensive experience of preparing real environmental and biotic samples for analysis of the interactions of ENPs with, for example, natural colloids and bacterial cells in wastewater and soil pore water.

Study ENP fate and behaviour through wastewater treatment processes and in soils.

NanoFATE will improve current understanding of ENP behaviour during wastewater treatment by providing information relating to ENPs post-release fate, supporting predictions of ENP concentrations delivered to waters via discharges and to soil via sludge disposal.
5Determine the chronic toxicity of ENPs of different properties, including co-exposures with other stressors (e.g. UV and combustion-derived pollutants).NanoFATE will fill knowledge gaps concerning ENP effects by providing more detailed information on aspects of ENP toxicity. These include e.g., the relative sensitivities of species, acute-to-chronic ratios, the effects of ENP properties on toxicity, and the interactive effects of ENP with other co-stressors.
6Establish and model how environment physico-chemical properties in wastewater, natural waters and soil govern ENP parameters such as stability, soil-solution partitioning, downward transport and transformation (e.g. dissolution) that each may ultimately affect bioavailability to organisms.NanoFATE will address the role of water and soil physicochemical properties and particle characteristics by determining the magnitude of ENP effects for key organisms exposed to different particle types and under different environmental conditions.
7Establish the mechanisms of uptake, internal trafficking and toxicity of ENPs.NanoFATE will respond to the current need for extensive studies on tissue and cellular localization and the mechanisms of action of ENPs in aquatic and terrestrial species, through adapting techniques developed and used previously for conventional chemical assessment.
8Develop risk assessment model(s) that integrate ENP fate, availability, accumulation and toxicity over the full post-production life cycle including provision of data for use in full life cycle assessment.To develop and refine approaches that potentially may allow a more robust and detailed assessment, NanoFATE will evaluate the applicability of advanced risk assessment tools for use with ENPs. These include models for predicting no effect concentrations based on the species sensitivity approach, and bioavailability.
9Improve stakeholder understanding of ENP risks.NanoFATE will conduct a comprehensive scientific assessment of the fitness for purpose of existing risk assessment approaches and techniques for estimating ENP risks in real environments, presenting these to stakeholders and providing a solid grounding for evidence-based ENP risk assessment.