Fluorescent nanoparticles in the popular pizza: properties, biodistribution and cytotoxicity†
Food-borne nanoparticles that are generated during the thermal processing of various consumed foods are of great concern due to their unique properties. In this study, the presence of fluorescent nanoparticles (FNPs) in pizza, their biodistribution and cytotoxicity were investigated. The spherical FNPs have a diameter of about 3.33 nm. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis revealed that they contained 68.21% C, 27.44% O, 2.75% N and 1.60% S, and the functional groups on their surface included –OH, –COOH, CC, –NH2 and CO. In vitro and in vivo biodistribution of pizza FNPs was evaluated using normal rat kidney (NRK) cells, onion epidermal cells, Caenorhabditis elegans and mice. The fluorescence microscopy images clearly indicate that the pizza FNPs appear to be localized within the cytoplasm. However, the FNPs remained restricted to the extracellular space of the onion epithelium and did not enter the onion cell cytoplasm because of the cell wall. The FNPs were swallowed by the Caenorhabditis elegans worms when exposed to food OP50 and distributed within the pharynx, intestine and anus. Obvious fluorescence of the FNPs in the stomach, intestine, liver, lung and kidney was observed for the FNPs in mouse organs, but not the brain, heart, and spleen. Furthermore, the produced FNPs were found to cause cell cycle arrest at the G0/G1 phase in NRK cells, and resulted in cell apoptosis at high doses. The outcome of this research offers an important insight into the nature of thermal processing-induced nanoparticles and their in vivo and in vitro biological effects.