Nanoparticles and the Environment


A new paper by researchers from the National Science Foundation Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology has revealed that bacteria can adapt quickly to the presence of nanoparticles in the environment, even when those nanoparticles are not designed to kill the bacteria. The study showed that the bacterium Shewanella ondeidensis MR-1 adapted to higher and higher levels of nanoparticles used in making lithium-ion batteries. This is the first study to show that bacteria can develop resistance to substances other than antibiotics. An article about this study appears on the website of the College of Science and Engineering: Nanoparticles May Have Bigger Impact on the Environment Than Previously Thought.

The lead author is Associate Professor Erin Carlson , an MSI PI from the Department of Chemistry. Professor Carlson uses MSI for computational modeling to visualize how antibacterial agents bind to proteins. Chemistry professor and MSI PI Christy Haynes  is also a lead researcher on the study. Professor Haynes uses MSI for computational studies to model various mycotoxin and monomer vibrational modes to compare to experimental work. 

The study was published in the journal Chemical Science; it can be found on the journal website: Chronic Exposure to Complex Metal Oxide Nanoparticles Elicits Rapid Resistance in Shewanella oneidensis MR-1.