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Nanotoxicology. 2018 Aug;12(6):509-521. doi: 10.1080/17435390.2018.1464229. Epub 2018 May 6.

Multi-level toxicity assessment of engineered cellulose nanofibrils in Daphnia magna.

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a Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry , Stockholm University , Stockholm , Sweden.
b Fiber and Polymer Technology Department , KTH Royal Institute of Technology , Stockholm , Sweden.


Cellulose nanofibril (CNF)-based materials are increasingly used in industrial and commercial applications. However, the impacts of CNF on aquatic life are poorly understood, and there are concerns regarding their potential toxicity. Using a combination of standard ecotoxicological tests and feeding experiments, we assessed the effects of CNF exposure (0.206-20.6 mg/L) on the feeding (food uptake and gut residence time) and life-history traits (growth and reproduction) in the cladoceran Daphnia magna. No mortality was observed in a 48 h acute exposure at 2060 mg/L. Moreover, a 21-day exposure at low food and moderate CNF levels induced a stimulatory effect on growth, likely driven by increased filtration efficiency, and, possibly, partial assimilation of the CNF by the animals. However, at low food levels and the highest CNF concentrations, growth and reproduction were negatively affected. These responses were linked to caloric restriction caused by dilution of the food source, but not an obstruction of the alimentary canal. Finally, no apparent translocation of CNF past the alimentary canal was detected. We conclude that CNF displays a low toxic potential to filter-feeding organisms and the expected environmental risks are low.


Cellulose nanofibrils; Daphnia magna; caloric restriction; feeding; toxicity

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