Chapter 5 - Environmental Fate of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles: Risks and Benefits


Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) are among nanoscale materials displaying exponentially growing production due to their applications in the field of cosmetology, medicine, as antibacterial agent and catalyst. The ZnO nanomaterials release into the aquatic ecosystems through domestic and industrial wastewaters has the potential to induce pernicious effects on fish and other organisms. Increasing concerns on the environmental hazard to aquatic biota have been highlighted by the toxic potential of some metal-based nanomaterials. Several characteristics of ZnO-NPs (e.g. size, shape, surface charge and agglomeration state) play a central role in biological effects such as genotoxic, mutagenic or cytotoxic effects. Overall, Zn bioaccumulation, histopathological, and hematological changes with oxidative and cellular stress have been reported in ZnO-NPs exposed animals. This chapter provides an overview on applications of ZnO-NPs followed by a brief outline on methods of synthesis and characterization, and the current knowledge on the ZnO-NPs interaction with fish as they are valuable models in ecotoxicology, sensitive to many contaminants, representing a potential source of food for humans. This chapter intends to provide information for a critical overview of the pros and cons of using these particles, factors influencing their effects, and potential human health implications.


Asfina Beegam, Parvathy Prasad, Jiya Jose, Miguel Oliveira, Fernando G. Costa, Amadeu M.V.M. Soares, Paula P. Gonçalves, Tito Trindade, Nandakumar Kalarikkal, Sabu Thomas and Maria de Lourdes Pereira

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