Monday, June 2, 2008
NIST studies show that GM molecules can transfer to higher animals.
Research Measures Movement of Nanomaterials in Simple Model Food Chain
New research* shows that while engineered nanomaterials can be transferred up the lowest levels of the food chain from single celled organisms to higher multicelled ones, the amount transferred was relatively low and there was no evidence of the nanomaterials concentrating in the higher level organisms. The preliminary results observed by researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) suggest that the particular nanomaterials studied may not accumulate in invertebrate food chains.
The same properties that make engineered nanoparticles attractive for numerous applications—biological and environmental stability, small size, solubility in aqueous solutions and lack of toxicity to whole organisms—also raise concerns about their long-term impact on the environment. NIST researchers wanted to determine if nanoparticles could be passed up a model food chain and if so, did the transfer lead to a significant amount of bioaccumulation (the increase in concentration of a substance in an organism over time) and biomagnification (the progressive buildup of a substance in a predator organism after ingesting contaminated prey).
In their study, the NIST team investigated the dietary accumulation, elimination and toxicity of two types of fluorescent quantum dots using a simple, laboratory-based food chain with two microscopic aquatic organisms—Tetrahymena pyriformis, a single-celled ciliate protozoan, and the rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus that preys on it. The process of a material crossing different levels of a food chain from prey to predator is called “trophic transfer.”
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