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Chemosphere. 2010 Nov;81(10):1227-32. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2010.09.036.

No bioavailability of 17α-ethinylestradiol when associated with nC60 aggregates during dietary exposure in adult male zebrafish (Danio rerio).

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Center for Environmental Biotechnology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA.


The C(60) fullerene is a manufactured carbon nanoparticle (CNP) that could pose a risk to humans and other organisms after release into the environment. In surface waters, C(60) is likely to be present as aggregates of nC(60) and these aggregates can associate with other substances that are toxic. Our goal was to evaluate the association of a model contaminant [17α-ethinylestradiol (EE2)] with nC(60) and determine bioavailability of EE2 after accumulation by a filter feeding organism [Brine shrimp (BS) Artemia sp.] and subsequent dietary exposure in zebrafish. Aqueous suspensions of nC(60) were prepared (600 mg C(60)/900 mL, 6-month water stirred method) with/without EE2 (1 μg/L) and BS were exposed to these preparations. Accumulation of nC(60) in gut of BS was assessed by light microscopy, and C(60) were extracted from BS and concentration analyzed by HPLC. Adult male zebrafish were fed (5d) live BS according to the following treatments: BS (control); BS containing nC(60); BS containing nC(60)+EE2; or BS containing EE2. Liver was excised from exposed fish and total RNA was extracted for assessment of vitellogenin gene (vtg1A/B) expression. The vtg1A/B was highly up-regulated in fish exposed to BS containing EE2, but expression of vtg1A/B did not differ from controls in other treatments. The EE2 associated with nC(60) did not become bioavailable in zebrafish during passage through the intestinal tract of zebrafish. Results have implications on the effect of nC(60) on the bioavailability of co-contaminants in organisms during dietary exposure.

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