- Published on Friday, 09 November 2012 23:55
Although they are not visible to the naked eye, tiny manmade nanoparticles are all around – in makeup, sunscreen, fuel, and even powdered donuts. Scientists are just starting to learn how these nanoparticles affect humans and the environment.
Jorge Gardea-Torresdey, Ph.D., Dudley Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science and Engineering and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at The University of Texas at El Paso, is a national leader in this research area, studying the effects of nanoparticles released into the environment on soil fertility and crops grown for human consumption.
“[Professor Gardea-Torresdey’s] work with soybeans, tomatoes, and other vegetables and fruits has identified potential areas of concern for nanomaterials in the environment,” said Dusty Tenney, senior vice president and president of Environmental at PerkinElmer, Inc., a leader in analytical instrumentation and services. “We are very proud that our solutions are able to help advance the great work Professor Gardea-Torresdey and his students are doing as they strive to understand and characterize nano-implications on plants and ultimately our food supply. PerkinElmer believes that it's critically important that industry and academia continue to work together to understand these connections and their potential impact on human and environmental health so as to ensure a healthy and safe future."
PerkinElmer featured Gardea-Torresdey this week in a publication focusing on his research on metal nanomaterials in our food supply.
Gardea-Torresdey’s most recent focus has been soybean and cucumber plants, in which he found that certain metal nanoparticles can alter crop quality, yield and even affect their nitrogen fixation rate, the rate at which certain plants act as natural fertilizers. The soybean research has recently been published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences flagship journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
His goal is to generate a risk assessment of manufactured nanomaterials and recommend environmental, health and safety regulations, if need be.
“Dr. Gardea-Torresdey’s work investigates how nanoparticles in the environment affect global sustainability,” said Mahesh Narayan, Ph.D., assistant chair and associate professor of chemistry at UTEP. “He has used several well-known food crops to advance our understanding of plant toxicity through nanoparticles. Therefore, in my opinion, his work has far-reaching consequences for human habitat and civilization.”
Gardea-Torresdey is a co-investigator within the University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC CEIN), a $24 million center funded by the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency. UC CEIN, headquartered at the University of California, Los Angeles, is a collaboration among several universities, including UTEP and UC Santa Barbara.