Ocean acidification enhances the embryotoxicity of CuO nanoparticles to Oryzias melastigma

Concerns are raised towards individual effects of ocean acidification (OA) and engineered nanoparticles (NPs) on marine organisms. However, there are scarce studies regarding nanotoxicity under OA conditions. We investigated the combined effects of OA (pHs, 7.70 and 7.40) and CuO NPs on the embryotoxicity of marine medaka Oryzias melastigma and the bioavailability of CuO NPs in embryos. The results showed that OA alleviated the aggregation of CuO NPs and promoted the dissolution of CuO NPs in seawater (increased by 0.010 and 0.029 mg/L under pHs 7.70 and 7.40, respectively). Synergistic effects of OA with CuO NPs on medaka embryos were observed as indicated by much higher mortality and oxidative damage. Importantly, the enhanced toxicity of CuO NPs to medaka embryos under OA conditions mainly originated from the higher bioavailability of particulate CuO (e.g., 30.28 mg/kg at pH 7.40) rather than their released Cu2+ ions (e.g. 3.04 mg/kg at pH 7.40). The weaker aggregation of NPs under OA conditions resulted in higher penetration of individual particles (or small aggregates) into embryos through the micropyle and chorionic pores, causing enhanced bioavailability of NPs. The obtained results provided underlying insights into understanding the risk of NPs to marine ecosystem under OA conditions.

Wang H., Sui Q., Zhao J., Sun X., Zhu L., Chen B., Qu K. & Xia B., 2023. Ocean acidification enhances the embryotoxicity of CuO nanoparticles to Oryzias melastigma. Journal of Hazardous Materials 453: 131361. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2023.131361. Article (subscription required).

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