The effects of co-exposure of graphene oxide and copper under different pH conditions in Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum

Carbon nanomaterials (CNM), such as graphene oxide (GO), have been the focus of study in several areas of science mostly due to their physical-chemical properties. However, data concerning the potential toxic effects of these CNM in bivalves are still scarce. When present in the aquatic systems, the combination with other contaminants, as well as pH environmental variations, can influence the behavior of these nanomaterials and, consequently, their toxicity. Thus, the main goal of this study was to evaluate the effect of exposure of clam Ruditapes philippinarum to GO when acting alone and in the combination with copper (Cu), under two pH levels (control 7.8 and 7.3). A 28-day exposure was performed and metabolism and oxidative stress-related parameters were evaluated. The effects caused by GO and Cu exposures, either isolated or co-exposed, showed a direct and dependent relationship with the pH in which the organisms were exposed. In clams maintained at control pH (7.8), Cu and GO + Cu treatments showed lower lipid peroxidation (LPO) and lower electron transport system (ETS) activity, respectively. In clams maintained at low pH, glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs) activities were increased in Cu and Cu + GO treatments, whereas reduced glutathione (GSH) levels were increased in Cu treatment and ETS activity was higher in GO + Cu. Thus, it can be observed that clams responses to Cu and GO were strongly modulated by pH in terms of their defense system and energy production, although this does not result into higher LPO levels.

Britto R. S., Nascimento J. P., Serode T., Santos A. P., Soares A. M. V. M., Figueira E., Furtado C., Lima-Ventura J., Monserrat J. M. & Freitas R., in press. The effects of co-exposure of graphene oxide and copper under different pH conditions in Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. Article (subscription required).

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