Toxicity of CeO2 nanoparticles on a freshwater experimental trophic chain: A study in environmentally relevant conditions through the use of mesocosms

Abstract : The toxicity of CeO2 NPs on an experimental freshwater ecosystem was studied in mesocosm, with a focus being placed on the higher trophic level, i.e. the carnivorous amphibian species Pleurodeles waltl. The system comprised species at three trophic levels: (i) bacteria, fungi and diatoms, (ii) Chironomus riparius larvae as primary consumers and (iii) Pleurodeles larvae as secondary consumers. NP contamination consisted of repeated additions of CeO2 NPs over 4 weeks, to obtain a final concentration of 1 mg/L. NPs were found to settle and accumulate in the sediment. No effects were observed on litter decomposition or associated fungal biomass. Changes in bacterial communities were observed from the third week of NP contamination. Morphological changes in CeO2 NPs were observed at the end of the experiment. No toxicity was recorded in chironomids, despite substantial NP accumulation (265.8±14.1mg Ce/kg). Mortality (35.3±6.8%) and a mean Ce concentration of 13.5±3.9mg/kg were reported for Pleurodeles. Parallel experiments were performed on Pleurodeles to determine toxicity pathways: no toxicity was observed by direct or dietary exposures, although Ce concentrations almost reached 100 mg/kg. In view of these results, various toxicity mechanisms are proposed and discussed. The toxicity observed on Pleurodeles in mesocosm may be indirect, due to microorganism’s interaction with CeO2 NPs, or NP dissolution could have occurred in mesocosm due to the structural complexity of the biological environment, resulting in toxicity to Pleurodeles. This study strongly supports the importance of ecotoxicological assessment of NPs under environmentally relevant conditions, using complex biological systems.
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Agathe Bour, Florence Mouchet, Stéphane Cadarsi, Jérôme Sylvestre, Laurent Verneuil, et al.. Toxicity of CeO2 nanoparticles on a freshwater experimental trophic chain: A study in environmentally relevant conditions through the use of mesocosms. Nanotoxicology, Taylor & Francis, 2016, 10 (2), pp.245-255. ⟨10.3109/17435390.2015.1053422⟩. ⟨hal-01494965⟩

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