Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

Ecotoxicology Related Abstracts

3 Impact of Gold and Silver Nanoparticles on Terrestrial Flora and Microorganisms

Authors: L. Steponavičiūtė, L. Steponavičienė

Abstract:

Despite the rapid nanotechnology progress and recognition, its potential impact in ecosystems and health of humans is still not fully known. In this paper, the study of ecotoxicological dangers of nanomaterials is presented. By chemical reduction method, silver (AgNPs) and gold (AuNPs) nanoparticles were synthesized, characterized and used in experiments to examine their impact on microorganisms (Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans) and terrestrial flora (Phaseolus vulgaris and Lepidium sativum). The results collected during experiments with terrestrial flora show tendentious growth stimulations caused by gold nanoparticles. In contrast to these results, silver nanoparticle solutions inhibited growth of beans and garden cress, compared to control samples. The results obtained from experiments with microorganisms show similarities with ones collected from experiments with terrestrial plants. Samples treated with AuNPs of size 13 nm showed stimulation in the growth of the colonies compared with 3,5 nm size nanoparticles.

Keywords: Nanomaterials, Ecosystems, Nanoparticles, Ecotoxicology

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2 Manganese Contamination Exacerbates Reproductive Stress in a Suicidally-Breeding Marsupial

Authors: Ami Fadhillah Amir Abdul Nasir, Amanda C. Niehaus, Skye F. Cameron, Frank A. Von Hippel, John Postlethwait​, Robbie S. Wilson

Abstract:

For suicidal breeders, the physiological stresses and energetic costs of breeding are fatal. Environmental stressors such as pollution should compound these costs, yet suicidal breeding is so rare among mammals that this is unknown. Here, we explored the consequences of metal contamination to the health, aging and performance of endangered, suicidally-breeding northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus) living near an active manganese mine on Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory, Australia. We found respirable manganese dust at levels exceeding international recommendations even 20km from mining sites and substantial accumulation of manganese within quolls’ hair, testes, and in two brain regions—the neocortex and cerebellum, responsible for sensory perception and motor function, respectively. Though quolls did not differ in sprint speeds, motor skill, or manoeuvrability, those with higher accumulation of manganese crashed at lower speeds during manoeuvrability tests, indicating a potential effect on sight or cognition. Immune function and telomere length declined over the breeding season, as expected with ageing, but manganese contamination exacerbated immune declines and suppressed cortisol. Unexpectedly, male quolls with higher levels of manganese had longer telomeres, supporting evidence of unusual telomere dynamics among Dasyurids—though whether this affects their lifespan is unknown. We posit that sublethal contamination via pollution, mining, or urbanisation imposes physiological costs on wildlife that may diminish reproductive success or survival.

Keywords: Ecotoxicology, cortisol, heavy metal, manganese, telomere length, locomotor

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1 Ecotoxicological Test-Battery for Efficiency Assessment of TiO2 Assisted Photodegradation of Emerging Micropolluants

Authors: Ildiko Fekete-Kertesz, Jade Chaker, Sylvain Berthelot, Viktoria Feigl, Monika Molnar, Lidia Favier

Abstract:

There has been growing concern about emerging micropollutants in recent years, because of the possible environmental and health risk posed by these substances, which are released into the environment as a consequence of anthropogenic activities. Among them pharmaceuticals are currently not considered under water quality regulations; however, their potential effect on the environment have become more frequent in recent years. Due to the fact that these compounds can be detected in natural water matrices, it can be concluded, that the currently applied water treatment processes are not efficient enough for their effective elimination. To date, advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) are considered as highly competitive water treatment technologies for the removal of those organic micropollutants not treatable by conventional techniques due to their high chemical stability and/or low biodegradability. AOPs such as (photo)chemical oxidation and heterogeneous photocatalysis have proven their potential in degrading harmful organic compounds from aqueous matrices. However, some of these technologies generate reaction by-products, which can even be more toxic to aquatic organisms than the parent compounds. Thus, target compound removal does not necessarily result in the removal of toxicity. Therefore, to evaluate process efficiency the determination of the toxicity and ecotoxicity of the reaction intermediates is crucial to estimate the environmental risk of such techniques. In this context, the present study investigates the effectiveness of TiO2 assisted photodegradation for the removal of emerging water contaminants. Two drugs named losartan (used in high blood pressure medication) and levetiracetam (used to treat epilepsy) were considered in this work. The photocatalytic reactions were carried out with a commercial catalyst usually employed in photocatalysis. Moreover, the toxicity of the by-products generated during the process was assessed with various ecotoxicological methods applying aquatic test organisms from different trophic levels. A series of experiments were performed to evaluate the toxicity of untreated and treated solutions applying the Aliivibrio fischeri bioluminescence inhibition test, the Tetrahymena pyriformis proliferation inhibition test, the Daphnia magna lethality and immobilization tests and the Lemna minor growth inhibition test. The applied ecotoxicological methodology indicated sensitively the toxic effects of the treated and untreated water samples, hence the applied test battery is suitable for the ecotoxicological characterization of TiO2 based photocatalytic water treatment technologies and the indication of the formation of toxic by-products from the parent chemical compounds. Obtained results clearly showed that the TiO2 assisted photodegradation was more efficient in the elimination of losartan than levetiracetam. It was also observed that the treated levetiracetam solutions had more severe effect on the applied test organisms. A possible explanation would be the production of levetiracetam by-products, which are more toxic than the parent compound. The increased toxicity and the risk of formation of toxic metabolites represent one possible limitation to the implementation of photocatalytic treatment using TiO2 for the removal of losartan and levetiracetam. Our results proved that, the battery of ecotoxicity tests used in this work can be a promising investigation tool for the environmental risk assessment of photocatalytic processes.

Keywords: Water Treatment, photocatalysis, Ecotoxicology, nano titanium dioxide, aquatic micropollutants

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