Comparative toxicity of nano-ZnO and bulk ZnO suspensions to zebrafish and the effects of sedimentation, ˙OH production and particle dissolution in distilled water.J Environ Monit. 2011 Jul; 13(7):1975-82.JE
With the common application of nanoscale zinc oxide (nZnO) and significant potential for its release directly into aquatic environments, it is urgent to carry out research on ecotoxicological impact of nZnO. The characterization of nZnO, the amount of ˙OH in suspensions in the presence of light and the acute toxicity of nZnO and its bulk counterpart suspensions, as well as the acute toxicity of Zn(2+) solution to zebrafish (Danio rerio) at 96 h were studied. It was found that nZnO aggregated into irregular shapes in suspensions, and showed a relationship between its size distribution and concentration. In the presence of light, nZnO suspensions could generate ˙OH, the concentration of which increased with time. Although it was generally thought that ˙OH played a role in the biotoxicity to zebrafish, similar toxicity was observed for the nZnO and bulk ZnO suspensions (96 h LC(50) 3.969 mg L(-1), 2.525 mg L(-1), respectively). Furthermore, the sedimentation of nZnO and bulk ZnO in suspensions, and the accumulation of Zn in zebrafish were studied. The results showed that dissolved Zn(2+), from nZnO and bulk ZnO in suspensions, were toxic to zebrafish, while the aggregation and sedimentation of nZnO suspensions reduced the toxicity of nZnO. However, Zn(2+) may not be the main source of acute toxicity of nZnO and bulk ZnO to zebrafish. The experimental results highlight the importance of a systematic assessment of toxicity mechanisms of metal oxide nanoparticles (NPs) to determine definitively whether their toxicity is caused by nano-effects.