The neglected nano-specific toxicity of ZnO nanoparticles in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 20; 6:24839.SR
Nanoparticles (NPs) with unique physicochemical properties induce nano-specific (excess) toxicity in organisms compared with their bulk counterparts. Evaluation and consideration of nano-specific toxicity are meaningful for the safe design and environmental risk assessment of NPs. However, ZnO NPs have been reported to lack excess toxicity for diverse organisms. In the present study, the nano-specific toxicity of ZnO NPs was evaluated in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nano-specific toxicity of ZnO NPs was not observed in the wild type yeast. However, the ZnO NPs induced very similar nano-specific toxicities in the three mutants with comparable log Te ((particle)) values (0.64 vs 0.65 vs 0.62), suggesting that the mutants were more sensitive and specific for the NPs' nano-specific toxicity. The toxic effects in the yeast were slightly attributable to dissolved zinc ions from the ZnO (nano or bulk) particles. Oxidative damage and mechanical damage contributed to the toxic effect of the ZnO particles. The mechanism of mechanical damage is proposed to be an inherent characteristic underlying the nano-specific toxicity in the mutants. The log Te ((particle)) was a useful parameter for evaluation of NPs nano-specific toxicity, whereas log Te ((ion)) efficiently determined the NPs toxicity associated with released ions.