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Nanotoxicology. 2014 Aug;8 Suppl 1:2-10. doi: 10.3109/17435390.2013.847504. Epub 2013 Dec 18.

Microscopic investigation of single-wall carbon nanotube uptake by Daphnia magna.

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Institute of Environmental Toxicology, Clemson University , Pendleton, SC , USA .


The objectives of this study were to determine the extent of absorption of functionalized single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) across the gut epithelial cells in Daphnia magna. Several microscopic techniques were utilized, including micro-Raman spectroscopy, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and selective area diffraction (SAD). In an effort to examine the variation in uptake due to surface properties, four groups of differently functionalized SWCNTs were used: hydroxylated (OH-SWCNTs), silicon dioxide (SiO2-SWCNTs), poly aminobenzenesulfonic acid (PABS-SWCNTs) and polyethylene glycol (PEG-SWCNTs). Raman spectroscopy was able to detect OH-SWCNTs within the gut, but lacked the spatial resolution that is needed to identify lower concentrations of SWCNTs that may have been absorbed by body tissues. Initially, low-magnification imaging of exposed D. magna sections in the TEM revealed several features, which suggested absorption of SWCNTs. However, subsequent analysis with additional techniques (HRTEM, X-ray energy-dispersive spectroscopy and SAD) indicated that these features were either artifacts produced via the specimen staining process or consisted of non-graphitic, organic structures. This latter observation emphasizes the inherent difficulty in resolving SWCNTs embedded within a complex, organic matrix, as well as the care with which imaging results must be interpreted and supplemented with other, more analytical techniques.


Absorption; electron microscopy; nanomaterials

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