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Ecotoxicology. 2011 Jan;20(1):226-33. doi: 10.1007/s10646-010-0574-0. Epub 2010 Dec 1.

Limit-test toxicity screening of selected inorganic nanoparticles to the earthworm Eisenia fetida.

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  • 1Department of Terrestrial Ecology, National Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus University, Po Box 314, Vejlsøvej 25, 8600, Silkeborg, Denmark.


The toxicity of a range of inorganic (Ag, Cu, Ni, Al(2)O(3), SiO(2), TiO(2) and ZrO(2)) nanoparticles (NP) and their corresponding metal salt or bulk metal oxide were screened for toxicity toward the earthworm Eisenia fetida using the limit-test design (1000 mg/kg). This study provides the first ecotoxicological life history trait data on earthworms for each these NPs, as well as for AgNO(3), Al(2)O(3), SiO(2), TiO(2) and ZrO(2). Significant effects were observed on survival for AgNO(3) (2.5% of controls), CuCl(2) (17.5% of controls) and NiCl(2) (32.5% of controls) and on reproduction (AgNO(3), CuCl(2), NiCl(2), Ag-NP, Cu-NP, TiO(2)-NP); with total reproductive failure in both silver treatments. Ag-NP, Cu-NP and TiO(2)-NP were the only NPs that caused toxic effects to E. fetida. The toxicity could not be singularly related to particle size or zeta potential or to the inherent element constituting the NPs (e.g. Ag).

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