Vu have been able to, successfully, cultivate skin and corneal cells from salmon. The cells are viable at least for one week in culture dishes. We have performed exposure studies using nanao- and microparticles made from polystyrene, silica, graphene and gold - and done uptake studies. It seems that the cells are able to take up alle of these particles. Furthermore, we have establsihed a proteomic platform to assess the effects of particle exposure on cells. We have not been able to obtain polyethylene and polypropylene - nwither from commercial sources nor from chemisists. The reason is that the chemical synthesis of nano- and microparticles thereof is a ackward gas-based process which is not easy to carry out. We have had partly challenges related to "normal" presence of microorganisms in the cell cultures, which has not been mitigated yet even though we have tried many different antibiotics and medicaments.
The current proposal addresses the impact of NPs and MPs on fish health and welfare by introducing a systems biology approach. This ensures knowledge far beyond the current know how – which is fairly fragmented – and especially the fact that most of the previous studies have concerned millimeter-sized plastics and not tinier particles. The current proposal is tailored to answer fundamental questions: a) whether there is a discrimination between different plastic polymers (polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, Teflon) with regards to uptake, b) presence of any plastic polymer-specific biological effects and c) whether wounded fish especially suffer from uptake of NPs and MPs. Thus, the potential for new knowledge is huge and impacts are expected in the fields of plastics pollution of sub millimeter particles. This study will seed similar studies on other species both in lower and higher taxa. For example, the methods applied here can likely be transferred to other fish species, thus there will be higher awareness on the environmental impacts of NPs and MPs on other fish species and other ecosystems/food webs – as well as to food to consumers. We foresee that, based on the current approach and its topicality, there will made other proposals to EU and RCN in the future.
If successful, the project will provide a systems biology approach to study: 1) uptake mechanism in fish keratinocytes by high-end nanoscopy, 2) transcriptomic response, 3) metabolism by cells exposed to NPs and MPs, and to 4) correlation between plastic type and impacts. Furthermore, we will study how different particles are handled by fish keratinocytes in fish infected by fish lice causing wounds.
RRI will be implemented throughout the project.