Bioaccumulation and effects of different-shaped copper oxide nanoparticles in the deposit-feeding snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Tina Ramskov
  • Henriette Selck
  • Gary Banta
  • Deborah Berhanu
  • Valery E Forbes

Colleges, School and Institutes


Copper oxide (CuO) nanoparticles (NPs) are among the most widely used engineered NPs and are thus likely to end up in the environment, predominantly in sediments. Copper oxide NPs have been found to be toxic to a variety of (mainly pelagic) organisms, but to differing degrees. In the present study, the influence of CuO NP shape on bioavailability and toxicity in the sediment-dwelling freshwater gastropod Potamopyrgus antipodarum was examined. In 2 separate studies, snails were exposed to either clean sediment or sediment spiked with either aqueous Cu or CuO NPs of different shapes (rods, spheres, or platelets) at 240 µg Cu/g dry weight of sediment (nominal). In neither of the studies was survival found to be related to Cu form (i.e., free ion vs particle) or shape, whereas snail growth was severely influenced by both form and shape. Reproduction was affected (by CuO NP spheres and aqueous Cu) only when estimated as the total number (live plus dead) of juveniles produced per snail per week. Both the aqueous and particulate forms of Cu were available for uptake by snails when mixed into sediment. However, Cu body burden was not directly related to observed effects. The present study stresses the need for both a better understanding of uptake mechanisms and internal distribution pathways of NPs and an assessment of long-term consequences of NP exposure.

Bibliographic note

© 2014 SETAC.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1976-87
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


  • Animals, Copper, Fresh Water, Geologic Sediments, Nanoparticles, Reproduction, Snails