Submicron and nano formulations of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide stimulate unique cellular toxicological responses in the green microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2013, 260 pp. 984 - 992
Issue Date:
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The work investigates the eco-cytoxicity of submicron and nano TiO2 and ZnO, arising from the unique interactions of freshwater microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to soluble and undissolved components of the metal oxides. In a freshwater medium, submicron and nano TiO2 exist as suspended aggregates with no-observable leaching. Submicron and nano ZnO undergo comparable concentration-dependent fractional leaching, and exist as dissolved zinc and aggregates of undissolved ZnO. Cellular internalisation of solid TiO2 stimulates cellular ROS generation as an early stress response. The cellular redox imbalance was observed for both submicron and nano TiO2 exposure, despite exhibiting benign effects on the alga proliferation (8-day EC50>100mgTiO2/L). Parallel exposure of C. reinhardtii to submicron and nano ZnO saw cellular uptake of both the leached zinc and solid ZnO and resulting in inhibition of the alga growth (8-day EC50≥0.01mgZnO/L). Despite the sensitivity, no zinc-induced cellular ROS generation was detected, even at 100mgZnO/L exposure. Taken together, the observations confront the generally accepted paradigm of cellular oxidative stress-mediated cytotoxicity of particles. The knowledge of speciation of particles and the corresponding stimulation of unique cellular responses and cytotoxicity is vital for assessment of the environmental implications of these materials. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
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