Ecotoxicity of engineered nanoparticles to aquatic invertebrates: a brief review and recommendations for future toxicity testing

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    Based on a literature review and an overview of toxic effects of engineered nanoparticles in aquatic invertebrates, this paper proposes a number of recommendations for the developing field of nanoecotoxicology by highlighting the importance of invertebrates as sensitive and relevant test organisms. Results show that there is a pronounced lack of data in this field (less than 20 peer-reviewed papers are published so far), and the most frequently tested engineered nanoparticles in invertebrate tests are C-60, carbon nanotubes, and titanium dioxide. In addition, the majority of the studies have used Daphnia magna as the test organism. To date, the limited number of studies has indicated acute toxicity in the low mgl(-1) range and higher of engineered nanoparticles to aquatic invertebrates, although some indications of chronic toxicity and behavioral changes have also been described at concentrations in the high mu gl(-1) range. Nanoparticles have also been found to act as contaminant carriers of co-existing contaminants and this interaction has altered the toxicity of specific chemicals towards D. magna. We recommend that invertebrate testing is used to advance the level of knowledge in nanoecotoxicology through standardized short-term (lethality) tests with invertebrates as a basis for investigating behaviour and bioavailability of engineered nanoparticles in the aquatic environment. Based on this literature review, we further recommend that research is directed towards invertebrate tests employing long-term low exposure with chronic endpoints along with more research in bioaccumulation of engineered nanoparticles in aquatic invertebrates.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)387-395
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • nanoecotoxicology
    • crustaceans
    • nanomaterials
    • nanoparticles


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