Developments in nanotechnology are leading to a rapid proliferation of new materials that are likely to become a source of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) to the environment, where their possible ecotoxicological impacts remain unknown. The surface properties of ENPs are of essential importance for their aggregation behavior, and thus for their mobility in aquatic and terrestrial systems and for their interactions with algae, plants and, fungi. Interactions of ENPs with natural organic matter have to be considered as well, as those will alter the ENPs aggregation behavior in surface waters or in soils. Cells of plants, algae, and fungi possess cell walls that constitute a primary site for interaction and a barrier for the entrance of ENPs. Mechanisms allowing ENPs to pass through cell walls and membranes are as yet poorly understood. Inside cells, ENPs might directly provoke alterations of membranes and other cell structures and molecules, as well as protective mechanisms. Indirect effects of ENPs depend on their chemical and physical properties and may include physical restraints (clogging effects), solubilization of toxic ENP compounds, or production of reactive oxygen species. Many questions regarding the bioavailability of ENPs, their uptake by algae, plants, and fungi and the toxicity mechanisms remain to be elucidated.
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