Seminar of Department of Botany and Centre of Excellence EcolChange
Speaker: Prof. Anne Kahru (National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics)
Title of the talk: New challenges for ecotoxicologists due to COVID-19 outbreak: focus on metal-based antimicrobials and single-use plastic
Time: Thursday, 4 November 2021 at 14.15
Place: virtual seminar in Zoom
Summary: The Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology of National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysis (Tallinn, Estonia) has long-time experience in eco-safety evaluation of different types of nanomaterials (NMs) using a combined approach based on thorough physico-chemical characterization of NMs coupled to the bioassays with crustaceans, protozoa, algae, plants and microbes. The seminar will introduce COVID-19 outbreak-related challenges to ecotoxicologists. Firstly, the urgent need for novel antiviral materials has led to the rapidly increasing interest in use of e.g., copper and silver in different surface coatings, textiles and face masks etc. Indeed, silver, copper and zinc are efficient antimicrobials but have hazardous effects to aquatic species, especially to algae and crustaceans – important representatives of aquatic food chain. Secondly, the need for protection of humans against Coronavirus has led to warning increase of use of single-use plastics (masks, gowns, gloves) being contradictory to the pre-COVID strategy envisaging cutting down the single-use plastics.