Harmonizing across environmental nanomaterial testing media for increased comparability of nanomaterial datasets

Nicholas K. Geitner, Christine Ogilvie Hendren, Geert Cornelis, Ralf Kaegi, Jamie R. Lead, Gregory V. Lowry, Iseult Lynch, Bernd Nowack, Elijah Petersen, Emily Bernhardt, Scott Brown, Wei Chen, Camille De Garidel-Thoron, Jaydee Hanson, Stacey Harper, Kim Jones, Frank Von Der Kammer, Alan Kennedy, Justin Kidd, Cole MatsonChris D. Metcalfe, Joel Pedersen, Willie J.G.M. Peijnenburg, Joris T.K. Quik, Sónia M. Rodrigues, Jerome Rose, Phil Sayre, Marie Simonin, Claus Svendsen, Robert Tanguay, Nathalie Tefenkji, Tom Van Teunenbroek, Gregory Thies, Yuan Tian, Jacelyn Rice, Amalia Turner, Jie Liu, Jason Unrine, Marina Vance, Jason C. White, Mark R. Wiesner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The chemical composition and properties of environmental media determine nanomaterial (NM) transport, fate, biouptake, and organism response. To compare and interpret experimental data, it is essential that sufficient context be provided for describing the physical and chemical characteristics of the setting in which a nanomaterial may be present. While the nanomaterial environmental, health and safety (NanoEHS) field has begun harmonization to allow data comparison and re-use (e.g. using standardized materials, defining a minimum set of required material characterizations), there is limited guidance for standardizing test media. Since most of the NM properties driving environmental behaviour and toxicity are medium-dependent, harmonization of media is critical. A workshop in March 2016 at Duke University identified five categories of test media: aquatic testing media, soil and sediment testing media, biological testing media, engineered systems testing media and product matrix testing media. For each category of test media, a minimum set of medium characteristics to report in all NM tests is recommended. Definitions and detail level of the recommendations for specific standardized media vary across these media categories. This reflects the variation in the maturity of their use as a test medium and associated measurement techniques, variation in utility and relevance of standardizing medium properties, ability to simplify standardizing reporting requirements, and in the availability of established standard reference media. Adoption of these media harmonization recommendations will facilitate the generation of integrated comparable datasets on NM fate and effects. This will in turn allow testing of the predictive utility of functional assay measurements on NMs in relevant media, support investigation of first principles approaches to understand behavioral mechanisms, and support categorization strategies to guide research, commercial development, and policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-36
Number of pages24
JournalEnvironmental Science: Nano
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
N. K. Geitner and C. Ogilvie Hendren contributed equally to the organization and preparation of the Perspective. G. Cornelis, R. Kaegi, J. Lead, G. V. Lowry, I. Lynch, B. Nowack, and E. Petersen, and M. R. Wiesner were workshop group leaders and primary contributors to the major sections of the Perspective; they are listed alphabetically after the two lead authors. The remaining authors took part in the workshop and contributed material directly to the final Perspective; they are listed alphabetically after the core contributors. C. Ogilvie Hendren led the design and facilitation of the workshop. M. R. Wiesner convened the workshop and serves as corresponding author. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under NSF Cooperative Agreement EF-0830093 and DBI-1266252, Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT). The work was also supported in part via cooperative agreement W912HZ-17-2-0002 between the US Army Corps of Engineer Research and Development Center (USACE ERDC) and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF, the EPA, the USACE ERDC or the US CPSC. This work has not been subjected to EPA review and no official endorsement should be inferred. Certain commercial products or equipment are described in this paper in order to specify adequately the experimental procedure. In no case does such identification imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, nor does it imply that it is necessarily the best available for the purpose. The contributions of C. S., I. L., G. C., J. Q., R. K., B. N., F. v. d. K. and W. P., were supported through the “NanoFASE” project funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 642007. S. M. Rodrigues acknowledges the financial support of CESAM (UID/AMB/ 50017/2019) by FCT/MCTES through national funds, and the co-funding by the FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020. This is a contribution to Projects SIINN/0001/2014 (NanoFarm) and POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016749-PTDC/AGR-PRO/6262/2014 (NanoFertil) funded by FEDER, through COMPETE2020 – Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI), and by national funds (OE), through FCT/MCTES. C. G.-T. acknowledges funding from Excellence Initiative of Aix-Marseille University – A*MIDEX, a French “Investissements d'Avenir” program, through its associated Labex SERENADE project. J. H. was funded by the CSFund and the Park Foundation for work on the environmental and societal implications of nanotechnologies. S. L. H. would like to acknowledge funding support from the National Science Foundation (NSF Grant #1438165) and the National Institutes of Health (Grant #ES017552). A. K. was funded by the US Army Environmental Quality and Installation Research Program (Dr. Elizabeth Ferguson, Technical Director). J. A. P. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation under the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, CHE-1503408. N. T. acknowledges the support of the Canada Research Chairs program.

Publisher Copyright:
This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (all)


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