Ocean acidification increases the toxic effects of TiO2 nanoparticles on the marine microalga Chlorella vulgaris

Highlights

  • Ocean acidification enhanced growth inhibition of algal cells caused by TiO2 NPs.
  • Ocean acidification increased oxidative damage of TiO2 NPs on Chlorella vulgaris.
  • Elevated internalization of NPs contributed to enhanced toxicity of TiO2 NPs.
  • Slighter aggregation and more suspended NPs in acidified seawater were detected.

Abstract

Concerns about the environmental effects of engineered nanoparticles (NPs) on marine ecosystems are increasing. Meanwhile, ocean acidification (OA) has become a global environmental problem. However, the combined effects of NPs and OA on marine organisms are still not well understood. In this study, we investigated the effects of OA (pH values of 7.77 and 7.47) on the bioavailability and toxicity of TiO2 NPs to the marine microalga Chlorella vulgaris. The results showed that OA enhanced the growth inhibition of algal cells caused by TiO2 NPs. We observed synergistic interactive effects of pH and TiO2 NPs on oxidative stress, indicating that OA significantly increased the oxidative damage of TiO2 NPs on the algal cells. Importantly, the elevated toxicity of TiO2 NPs associated with OA could be explained by the enhanced internalization of NPs in algal cells, which was attributed to the slighter aggregation and more suspended particles in acidified seawater. Overall, these findings provide useful information on marine environmental risk assessments of NPs under near future OA conditions.

Xia B., Sui Q., Sun X., Han Q., Chen B., Zhu L. & Qu K., in press. Ocean acidification increases the toxic effects of TiO2 nanoparticles on the marine microalga Chlorella vulgaris. Journal of Hazardous Materials. Article (subscription required).

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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

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