Micro and Nanoplastics as Carriers for the Spread of Chemicals and Antimicrobial Resistance in the Aquatic Environment

Project at a glance


European Initiatives – National Development

Funding Agency

Water JPI Programme (IC4Water), Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation – Restart 2016-2020

Program Period


Project Acronym


Project Code


Project Title

Micro and Nanoplastics as Carriers for the Spread of Chemicals and Antimicrobial Resistance in the Aquatic Environment

Project Coordinator

Dr. Ian Allan, NIVA, Norway

Consortium Organizations

Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Norway

Durban University of Technology (DUT), South Africa

University of Rennes (GR), France

University of Pau (IPREM), France

Nireas-International Water Research Center (Nireas-IWRC), University of Cyprus, Cyprus

Nireas-IWRC Principal Investigator

Prof. Despo Fatta-Kassinos

Total budget

864,621 €

Budget for


174,990 €


Not available yet

Specific objectives

  • To evaluate UWTP-based emission loads of MNPs into aquatic ecosystems under various wastewater treatments and wastewater discharge or reuse options and identify and characterise the major types of plastics.
  • To identify the most relevant and prevalent chemical additives associated with micro and particularly nano-size plastics, as well as chemicals (CECs) adsorbed to plastics from the external environment.
  • To determine the fate/bioavailability of the chemical additives/CECs and associated risk once released into the environment.
  • To evaluate DNA sorption to MNPs (most common plastics) and possible associated increased half-life.
  • To identify whether MNPs act as carrier of common DNA in UWTPs effluents and the aquatic environment and evaluate factors influencing sorption.
  • To assess risk and review treatment and risk management options for various scenarios or case studies proposed in this project.


Microplastics have been the subject of increasing focus over the last decade since they have been found in virtually all waters and oceans around the globe. While rivers are assumed to be a major contributor of microplastic pollution to the marine environment, urban wastewater treatment plants (UWTPs) are expected to be a significant emission source of not only microplastic particles but also of the less studied nano-size plastic to freshwaters. The NANO-CARRIERS project aims through an inter-disciplinary approach at developing new understanding of the risk posed emission of micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) into aquatic ecosystems in the context of emission and spread of chemical additives, contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) and antibiotic resistance genes through laboratory experiments, field measurements and focused case studies.
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