CO2-induced pH reduction increases physiological toxicity of nano-TiO2 in the mussel Mytilus coruscus

The increasing usage of nanoparticles has caused their considerable release into the aquatic environment. Meanwhile, anthropogenic CO2 emissions have caused a reduction of seawater pH. However, their combined effects on marine species have not been experimentally evaluated. This study estimated the physiological toxicity of nano-TiO2 in the mussel Mytilus coruscus under high pCO2 (2500–2600 μatm). We found that respiration rate (RR), food absorption efficiency (AE), clearance rate (CR), scope for growth (SFG) and O:N ratio were significantly reduced by nano-TiO2, whereas faecal organic weight rate and ammonia excretion rate (ER) were increased under nano-TiO2 conditions. High pCO2 exerted lower effects on CR, RR, ER and O:N ratio than nano-TiO2. Despite this, significant interactions of CO2-induced pH change and nano-TiO2 were found in RR, ER and O:N ratio. PCA showed close relationships among most test parameters, i.e., RR, CR, AE, SFG and O:N ratio. The normal physiological responses were strongly correlated to a positive SFG with normal pH and no/low nano-TiO2 conditions. Our results indicate that physiological functions of M. coruscus are more severely impaired by the combination of nano-TiO2 and high pCO2.

Hu M., Lin D., Shang Y., Hu Y., Lu W., Huang X., Ning K., Chen Y. & Wang Y., 2017. CO2-induced pH reduction increases physiological toxicity of nano-TiO2 in the mussel Mytilus coruscus. Scientific Reports 7:40015. Article.

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