The development of nanotechnology will inevitably lead to the release of consistent amounts of nanomaterials (NMs) and nanoparticles (NPs) into marine ecosystems. Ecotoxicological studies have been carried out to identify potential biological targets of NPs, and suitable models for predicting their impact on the health of the marine environment. Recent studies in invertebrates mainly focused on NP accumulation and sub-lethal effects, rather than acute toxicity. Among marine invertebrates, bivalves represent by large the most studied group, with polychaetes and echinoderms also emerging as significant targets of NPs. However, major scientific gaps still need to be filled. In this work, factors affecting the fate of NPs in the marine environment, and their consequent uptake/accumulation/toxicity in marine invertebrates will be summarized. The results show that in different model species, NP accumulation mainly occurs in digestive tract and gills. Data on sub-lethal effects and modes of action of different types of NPs (mainly metal oxides and metal based NPs) in marine invertebrates will be reviewed, in particular on immune function, oxidative stress and embryo development. Moreover, the possibility that such effects may be influenced by NP interactions with biomolecules in both external and internal environment will be introduced. In natural environmental media, NP interactions with polysaccharides, proteins and colloids may affect their agglomeration/aggregation and consequent bioavailability. Moreover, once within the organism, NPs are known to interact with plasma proteins, forming a protein corona that can affect particle uptake and toxicity in target cells in a physiological environment. These interactions, leading to the formation of eco-bio-coronas, may be crucial in determining particle behavior and effects also in marine biota. In order to classify NPs into groups and predict the implications of their release into the marine environment, information on their intrinsic properties is clearly insufficient, and a deeper understanding of NP eco/bio-interactions is required.
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