A multi-integrated approach on toxicity effects of engineered TiO2 nanoparticles

Ana Picado, Susana M. Paixao, Liliana Moita, Luís Silva, M.S. Diniz, Joana Lourenco, Isabel Peres, Maria Luísa Faria de Castro Castro E Lemos, Jose Brito Correia, Joana A. Pereira, Isabel Maria Mercês Ferreira, António Pedro Alves Matos, Pedro Barquinha, Elsa Mendonca

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17 Citations (Scopus)


The new properties of engineered nanoparticles drive the need for new knowledge on the safety, fate, behavior and biologic effects of these particles on organisms and ecosystems. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles have been used extensively for a wide range of applications, e.g, self-cleaning surface coatings, solar cells, water treatment agents, topical sunscreens. Within this scenario increased environmental exposure can be expected but data on the ecotoxicological evaluation of nanoparticles are still scarce. The main purpose of this work was the evaluation of effects of TiO2 nanoparticles in several organisms, covering different trophic levels, using a battery of aquatic assays. Using fish as a vertebrate model organism tissue histological and ultrastructural observations and the stress enzyme activity were also studied. TiO2 nanoparticles (AeroxideA (R) P25), two phase composition of anatase (65%) and rutile (35%) with an average particle size value of 27.6 +/- 11 nm were used. Results on the EC50 for the tested aquatic organisms showed toxicity for the bacteria, the algae and the crustacean, being the algae the most sensitive tested organism. The aquatic plant Lemna minor showed no effect on growth. The fish Carassius auratus showed no effect on a 21 day survival test, though at a biochemical level the cytosolic Glutathione-S-Transferase total activity, in intestines, showed a general significant decrease (p <0.05) after 14 days of exposure for all tested concentrations. The presence of TiO2 nanoparticles aggregates were observed in the intestine lumen but their internalization by intestine cells could not be confirmed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-803
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers of environmental science & engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


  • ecotoxicity
  • enzymatic analysis
  • histology
  • transmission electron microscopy (TEM)
  • TiO2-nanoparticles
  • ZNO

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