Life in a millionth of a millimeter. Why is something so small becoming so big?


The Water Research Group (Ecotoxicology) consists of academics and postgraduate students at the North-West University in South Africa who specialize in the ecotoxicology of nanomaterials and organic pollutants. Different toxicological endpoints are used to determine the hazard of the toxicants when released into the environment.


Currently we have three projects running testing the ecotoxicity of nanomaterials in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Species which are focused on include bacteria, algae, daphnia, zebrafish, round worms, potworms, and earthworms.

Current techniques

Nanomaterial characterization

Acute toxicity tests (bacteria, algae, earthworm, nematodes, daphnia, fish)

Chronic toxicity tests (various end points)

xCELLigence (real-time cell analysis)

Biomarker analysis (e.g. oxidative stress, oxygen consumption, cellular energy allocation, etc.)

Imaging techniques (TEM/SEM/CytoViva)



Swimming performance (Loligo Systems)

Respirometry (Loligo Systems)

Behaviour (Noldus and DanioVision)

Get Involved

If you have a project you would like to collaborate on or a question on any of the techniques we use please feel free to contact us.

Latest Project


We obtained funding from the National Nanotechnology Equipment Programme of the National Research Foundation to develop the largest Zebrafish bioassay facility in Africa and second largest in the Southern hemisphere.


This facility comprises of Techniplast holding systems technology. This state of the art facility contains six Zebrafish housing systems, one quarantine stand alone system, four toxicity rack systems and two Xenopus housing systems and a Marine room.

Check out our new blog!! If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact us.

The views and opinions expressed on this page are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those by the North-West University

Logo design: Gareth van Vollenstee