Comparative evaluation of the mechanisms of toxicity of graphene oxide and graphene oxide quantum dots to blue-green algae Microcystis aeruginosa in the aquatic environment

Zhongda Yan, Xiaonan Yang, Iseult Lynch, Fuyi Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Due to the diverse applications, graphene-family nanomaterials (GFNs) have a high probability of release into the aquatic system, potentially posing risks to the aquatic environment. The acute effects on single-celled Microcystis aeruginosa by graphene oxide (GO) or graphene oxide quantum dots (GOQDs) were compared in the present study. GOQDs dispersed more effectively in water than GO at all pH values tested. The 96-hour median effective concentration (EC50) of GO and GOQDs were determined to be 49.32 and 22.46 mg/L, respectively. Both GO and GOQDs were internalized by heteroagglomeration and envelopment processes, with GOQDs inducing stronger upregulation of cell permeability, plasmolysis and lipid bodies than GO. Cracking of thylakoid layers, disappearance of nucleoid, and disintegration of cell infrastructure were observed at higher concentrations. In comparison to GO, GOQDs induced higher reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA) and disrupted antioxidant enzymes, leading to the inhibition of cellular contents such as chlorophyll a and proteins. Furthermore, both GO and GOQDs adsorbed nutrients from the algal medium, resulting in nutrient depletion-induced indirect toxicity, with GOQDs depleting more nutrients than GO. The current study provides new understanding of nanotoxicity of GO and GOQD and aids in the potential risks of nanomaterials in aquatic environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127898
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Volume425
Early online date27 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Graphene oxide
  • Nanotoxicology
  • Nutrient depletion
  • Quantum dots
  • Size effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry

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