Dissolution-based uptake of CeO2 nanoparticles by freshwater shrimp – a dual-radiolabelling study of the fate of anthropogenic cerium in water organisms†
Manufactured nanoparticles, such as CeO2, give rise to novel risks when released into the environment. To assess these risks it is important to quantify the nanoparticle mass flows, as well as their speciation and the mechanisms of their transformation. We developed an innovative dual-radiolabelling strategy for CeO2 nanoparticles using neutron activation and in-diffusion labelling to radiolabel CeO2 nanoparticles with both Ce-141 and Ce-139. The different distribution of the radiolabels in the particles does not only allow easy dose determination in uptake studies but also enables us to track the uptake pathways of the anthropogenic cerium. By measuring the activity as well as the isotope ratio we tracked the uptake, transformation and excretion of CeO2 nanoparticles in freshwater shrimp. We found that 99.99% of the uptaken particles are excreted, leaving the gut with excrement. The remaining 0.01% were internalized via a dissolution-based pathway and accumulated in the hepatopancreas of the shrimp at a dose range of pg CeO2 per shrimp. Most importantly, our results show that dissolution is not only coincidental but instrumental in the uptake of the cerium into the internal organs of the shrimp.