Harmonizing across environmental nanomaterial testing media for increased comparability of nanomaterial datasets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Nicholas K. Geitner
  • Christine Ogilvie Hendren
  • Geert Cornelis
  • Ralf Kaegi
  • Gregory V. Lowry
  • Bernd Nowack
  • Elijah Petersen
  • Emily Bernhardt
  • Scott Brown
  • Camille de Garidel-Thoron
  • Jaydee Hanson
  • Stacey Harper
  • Kim Jones
  • Frank von der Kammer
  • Alan Kennedy
  • Justin Kidd
  • Cole Matson
  • Chris D. Metcalfe
  • Joel Pedersen
  • Willie J. G. M. Peijnenburg
  • Joris T. K. Quik
  • Sónia M. Rodrigues
  • Jerome Rose
  • Phil Sayre
  • Marie Simonin
  • Claus Svendsen
  • Robert Tanguay
  • Nathalie Tefenkji
  • Tom van Teunenbroek
  • Gregory Thies
  • Yuan Tian
  • Jacelyn Rice
  • Amalia Turner
  • Jie Liu
  • Jason Unrine
  • Marina Vance
  • Jason C. White
  • Mark R. Wiesner


The chemical composition and properties of environmental media determine nanomaterial (NM) transport, fate, biouptake, and organism response. To compare and interpret experimental data, it is essential that sufficient context be provided for describing the physical and chemical characteristics of the setting in which a nanomaterial may be present. While the nanomaterial environmental, health and safety (NanoEHS) field has begun harmonization to allow data comparison and re-use (e.g. using standardized materials, defining a minimum set of required material characterizations), there is limited guidance for standardizing test media. Since most of the NM properties driving environmental behaviour and toxicity are medium-dependent, harmonization of media is critical. A workshop in March 2016 at Duke University identified five categories of test media: aquatic testing media, soil and sediment testing media, biological testing media, engineered systems testing media and product matrix testing media. For each category of test media, a minimum set of medium characteristics to report in all NM tests is recommended. Definitions and detail level of the recommendations for specific standardized media vary across these media categories. This reflects the variation in the maturity of their use as a test medium and associated measurement techniques, variation in utility and relevance of standardizing medium properties, ability to simplify standardizing reporting requirements, and in the availability of established standard reference media. Adoption of these media harmonization recommendations will facilitate the generation of integrated comparable datasets on NM fate and effects. This will in turn allow testing of the predictive utility of functional assay measurements on NMs in relevant media, support investigation of first principles approaches to understand behavioral mechanisms, and support categorization strategies to guide research, commercial development, and policy.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-36
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironmental Science: Nano
Issue number1
Early online date8 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020