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Environmental processes transforming inorganic nanoparticles: implications on aquatic invertebrates

  • Engineered inorganic nanoparticles (EINPs) are produced and utilized on a large scale and will end up in surface waters. Once in surface waters, EINPs are subjected to transformations induced by environmental processes altering the particles’ fate and inherent toxicity. UV irradiation of photoactive EINPs is defined as one effect-inducing pathway, leading to the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), increasing EINP toxicity by exerting oxidative stress in aquatic life. Simultaneously, UV irradiation of photoactive EINP alters the toxicity of co-occurring micropollutants (e.g. pesticides) by affecting their degradation. The presence of natural organic matter (NOM) reduces the agglomeration and sedimentation of EINPs, extending the exposure of pelagic species, while delaying the exposure of benthic species living in and on the sediment, which is suggested as final sink for EINPs. However, the joint impact of NOM and UV irradiation on EINP-induced toxicity, but also EINP-induced degradation of micropollutants, and the resulting risk for aquatic biota, is poorly understood. Although potential effects of EINPs on benthic species are increasingly investigated, the importance of exposure pathways (waterborne or dietary) is unclear, along with the reciprocal pathway of EINPs, i.e. the transport back from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems. Therefore, this thesis investigates: (i) how the presence of NOM affects the UV-induced toxicity of the model EINP titanium dioxide (nTiO2) on the pelagic organism Daphnia magna, (ii) to which extent UV irradiation of nTiO2 in the presence and absence of NOM modifies the toxicity of six selected pesticides in D. magna, (iii) potential exposure pathway dependent effects of nTiO2 and silver (nAg) EINPs on the benthic organism Gammarus fossarum, and (iv) the transport of nTiO2 and gold EINPs (nAu) via the merolimnic aquatic insect Chaetopteryx villosa back to terrestrial ecosystems. nTiO2 toxicity in D. magna increased up to 280-fold in the presence of UV light, and was mitigated by NOM up to 12-fold. Depending on the pesticide, UV irradiation of nTiO2 reduced but also enhanced pesticide toxicity, by (i) more efficient pesticide degradation, and presumably (ii) formation of toxic by-products, respectively. Likewise, NOM reduced and increased pesticide toxicity, induced by (i) protection of D. magna against locally acting ROS, and (ii) mitigation of pesticide degradation, respectively. Gammarus’ energy assimilation was significantly affected by both EINPs, however, with distinct variation in direction and pathway dependence between nTiO2 and nAg. EINP presence delayed C. villosa emergence by up to 30 days, and revealed up to 40% reduced lipid reserves, while the organisms carried substantial amounts of nAu (~1.5 ng/mg), and nTiO2 (up to 2.7 ng/mg). This thesis shows, that moving test conditions of EINPs towards a more field-relevant approach, meaningfully modifies the risk of EINPs for aquatic organisms. Thereby, more efforts need to be made to understand the relative importance of EINP exposure pathways, especially since a transferability between different types of EINPs may not be given. When considering typically applied risk assessment factors, adverse effects on aquatic systems might already be expected at currently predicted environmental EINP concentrations in the low ng-µg/L range.

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Author:Simon Lüderwald
Title Additional (German):Umweltprozesse transformieren anorganische Nanopartikel: Auswirkungen auf aquatische Invertebraten
Referee:Jun.-Prof. Dr. Mirco Bundschuh, Prof. Dr. Ralf Schulz
Advisor:Jun.-Prof. Dr. Mirco Bundschuh
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2020/02/06
Date of publication:2020/02/07
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Fachbereich 7
Date of final exam:2020/01/23
Release Date:2020/02/07
Tag:Aquatic Ecotoxicology; Environmental factors; Nanoparticles
GND Keyword:Nanopartikel; Wirbellose
Number of pages:IV, 252 Seiten
Institutes:Fachbereich 7
Fachbereich 7 / Institut für Umweltwissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG