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Environ Pollut. 2011 Mar;159(3):729-34. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2010.11.030. Epub 2010 Dec 22.

Nano-TiO2 enhances the toxicity of copper in natural water to Daphnia magna.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, School of Chemistry and Environment, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, China. fanwh@buaa.edu.cn


The acute toxicity of engineered nanoparticles (NPs) in aquatic environments at high concentrations has been well-established. This study demonstrates that, at a concentration generally considered to be safe in the environment, nano-TiO(2) remarkably enhanced the toxicity of copper to Daphnia magna by increasing the copper bioaccumulation. Specifically, at 2 mg L(-1) nano-TiO(2), the (LC(50)) of Cu(2+) concentration observed to kill half the population, decreased from 111 μg L(-1) to 42 μg L(-1). Correspondingly, the level of metallothionein decreased from 135 μg g(-1) wet weight to 99 μg g(-1) wet weight at a Cu(2+) level of 100 μg L(-1). The copper was found to be adsorbed onto the nano-TiO(2), and ingested and accumulated in the animals, thereby causing toxic injury. The nano-TiO(2) may compete for free copper ions with sulfhydryl groups, causing the inhibition of the detoxification by metallothioneins.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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