Feeds

Nanotech buckyballs kill fish

The grey goo cometh

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Scientists today announced research suggesting buckyball molecules can trigger organ damage in fish, raising fears over the safety of the technology. When added to aquarium water, the particles also devastated the population of Daphnia, the tiny water-fleas near the bottom of the food chain.

The research was conducted on a small scale only, and the findings have yet to be reviewed by the scientific community at large. Even so, the results highlight how little is known about the way in which the molecules interact with the environment. Other research has found that some nano particles, when inhaled, damaged the subject animal's lung tissue.

Eva Oberdoerster, the environmental toxicologist who led the studies, told The Washington Post that the hazards and risks of nanotechnology are poorly understood.

She kept young largemouth bass in ten-litre aquariums filled with buckyball-contaminated water. The molecule was present at concentrations of 0.5 parts per million, similar to the concentration of common pollutants in US Ports, the paper said.

After 48 hours, the fishes' brains were examined for signs of lipid peroxidation, a standard measurement of biological damage. Oberdoerster found severe brain damage - some 17 times higher than the control group of fish, which had been kept in clean water.

At the same concentration, half of the daphnia in a test tank had died. Oberdoerster said this revealed the buckyballs as "moderately toxic".

These results are unexpected: scientists has predicted that buckyballs would clump together in water and sink to the sea bed. Other experts in the field said that the working assumption was that the nanoparticles would "become part of the muck". ®

Related link

That Washington Post article in full. Registration required.

Related story
DTI's £50m bet on Nanotech

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.