Micro and NANOplastics as CARRIERS for the spread of chemicals and antibiotic resistance in the aquatic envirnment

Project Coordinator:

Ifotocoord.JPGan Allan:

Institutions: Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)

Country: Norway



An estimated 300 million tons of plastic were produced worldwide in 2015, and this number keeps increasing. This has resulted in a widely acknowledged presence of plastic debris of all sizes in the aquatic environment. The NANO-CARRIERS project will study the threat related to the plastics at the micro and nanometric size emitted through wastewater treatment plants to be trojan horses for chemicals and antibiotic resistance genes into aquatic ecosystems. This project will use an inter-disciplinary approach combining laboratory-based experiments and field measurements to assess (i) emission loads of micro and nanoplastics (MNPs) through treated and untreated wastewater treatment plant effluent, (ii) identify the most relevant chemical additives and chemicals of emerging concern associated with these particles, (iii) the degree of association of DNA to MNPs and the impact of this association on DNA half-life during transfer of to the natural environment with wastewater effluents. Our main approaches will combine laboratory experiments to assess the sorption of DNA to MNPs of different type and sizes, the development of a tool box with methodological developments and harmonisation of protocols for the measurement of MNPs and associated chemicals in wastewater effluents, and field measurements under various scenarios of wastewater effluent treatment, release and re-use. The latter will be based on a strong climatic geographic gradient and under varied socio-economic context since field measurements will be undertaken in South Africa, Cyprus, France and Norway (including the Arctic). This project will include a significant competence building component and will involve researchers at all stages of a scientific career, MSc and PhD students, postdoctoral scientists to (senior) researchers and university professors. This project will deliver key results regarding the possibility of MNPs to act as vector of chemicals and antibiotic resistance genes to the environment.

Funder of the project:

Norwegian Research Council (Norway)

French National Research Agency (ANR)

Research promotion foundation (Cyprus)

Water Research Commission (South Africa)