Challenges and recommendations in experimentation and risk assessment of nanoplastics in aquatic organisms

A. I. Catarino*, D. Patsiou, S. Summers, G. Everaert, T. B. Henry, T. Gutierrez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Nanoplastics (<1000 nm), raise concerns regarding their potential effects and associated risks. These particles exhibit unique characteristics including diverse buoyancy and colloid behaviour, with additional challenges on processing and detection, and on their interaction with aquatic organisms. Consequently, laboratory experiments on nanoplastics can at times lack appropriate experimental controls or quality criteria and may not generate relevant data for conducting reliable risk assessments or capturing environmental realism. This study aimed to review and discuss the methodological challenges involved in assessing the effects of nanoplastics on aquatic organisms and provides recommendations for optimising experimental approaches. We discuss the major challenges and best practices when experimenting with nanoplastics, the current methods for detection of nanoplastics in internal tissues and assess translocation, and the pressing needs for nanoplastics risk assessment. We recommend the development of a rigorous quality criteria framework to advise researchers when designing experimental work, and to ensure suitability of data for risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117262
JournalTrends in Analytical Chemistry
Early online date2 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • Aquatic
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Effects assessment
  • Experimental work
  • Nanoplastics
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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