Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering (ME)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (Engineering)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Sung Hee Joo

Second Committee Member

James D. Englehardt

Third Committee Member

Andrea Bolognesi


The present study is aimed at the assessment of the toxic hazard posed by TiO2 nanoparticles released in the marine environment. The marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana was chosen as the target organism for this study as it is a really simple organism, yet contributing to the base level of the marine ecosystem and therefore holding capital environmental importance. Along with industrially-produced TiO2 nanoparticles, this study wanted to shed some light on the properties and effects of TiO2 nanoparticles derived (extracted) from commercial products, in particular sunscreens and toothpastes. Our findings showed an impressive trend relating the growth inhibition to the nature of the nanoparticles in a substantial way, more than to any other of the tested parameters (concentration of nanoparticles and exposure time). Nonetheless, both concentration and exposure time showed a direct relationship with growth inhibition. The findings of this study suggest that more research effort is devoted to the development of the knowledge of the industrial processes involving nanotechnologies, aiming at the development of a sustainable approach to the use of nanotechnologies.


nanoparticles; toxicology; titanium dioxide; diatom; sunscreen; thalassiosira pseudonana