Jump to main content
Jump to site search
Access to RSC content Close the message box

Continue to access RSC content when you are not at your institution. Follow our step-by-step guide.



Potentiation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon uptake in zebrafish embryos by nanoplastics

Author affiliations

Abstract

The presence of microplastics in the environment and their potential effects on the health of organisms are a subject of great concern. However, with further weathering through UV radiation, mechanical force, and microbiological activity, most of these microplastics will degrade into nano-sized particles with exponentially higher specific surface areas compared to microplastics. Moreover, given that the hydrophobic surface of plastics adsorbs hydrophobic persistent organic pollutants (POPs), the possibility of nano-sized plastic particles potentiating POP sorption has been postulated. We developed a novel radiotracer-based method to investigate the sorption of a model POP, phenanthrene, onto the surface of two different-sized polystyrene nanoplastics (PS-NPs). Using radiotracer analysis, we compared the transport and uptake of 14C-phenanthrene in zebrafish embryos with two different plastic particle sizes. We also evaluated whether nano-sized plastics altered the toxicity of phenanthrene and the acute sub-lethal responses to phenanthrene in zebrafish embryos. Our results demonstrate that 20 nm PS-NPs have higher sorption capacity for phenanthrene due to increased total surface area per gravimetric mass. Moreover, we demonstrate increased phenanthrene across the chorion and into zebrafish embryos with nano-sized plastics when compared to sub-micron sized plastics. Co-exposure to nano-sized plastics and phenanthrene delayed hatching and induced higher EROD activity in zebrafish embryos when compared to sub-micron sized plastics. The results of our study demonstrate that nano-sized plastics facilitate the transport and uptake of hydrophobic organic pollutants and increase both their bioavailability and potential toxicity to aquatic organisms.

Graphical abstract: Potentiation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon uptake in zebrafish embryos by nanoplastics

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
13 Feb 2020
Accepted
07 Apr 2020
First published
14 Apr 2020

Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Potentiation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon uptake in zebrafish embryos by nanoplastics

Y. Zhang and G. G. Goss, Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0EN00163E

Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements