Biochemical and behavioural responses of the marine polychaete Hediste diversicolor to cadmium sulfide quantum dots (CdS QDs): waterborne and dietary exposure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Pierre-Emmanuel Buffet
  • Laurence Poirier
  • Aurore Zalouk-Vergnoux
  • Christelle Lopes
  • Jean-Claude Amiard
  • Pierre Gaudin
  • Christine Risso-de Faverney
  • Marielle Guibbolini
  • Douglas Gilliland
  • Hanane Perrein-Ettajani
  • Catherine Mouneyrac

Colleges, School and Institutes


Cadmium sulfide (CdS) quantum dots are widely used in medical imaging. The aim of this study was to examine toxicity effects of CdS engineered nanoparticles (CdS NPs) compared to soluble Cd, on marine ragworms (Hediste diversicolor) exposed for 14 d to these contaminants (10 μg Cd L(-1)) in seawater or via their food (contaminated worm tissue). In our experimental media, Dynamic Light Scattering studies showed that the majority of CdS remained in the nanoscale (1-10 nm) with the exception of few aggregates (100-300 nm). Labile Cd fractions released from CdS NPs were estimated by diffusive gradient in thin films, showing that about 50% of CdS NPs remained in nanoparticulate form. Ragworms accumulated Cd in both soluble Cd and CdS NPs in waterborne exposures only. Greater significant changes of biochemical responses were observed in worms exposed to CdS NPs in seawater compared to contaminated food. Catalase and glutathione-S-transferase activities were the most sensitive biochemical biomarkers responding to both Cd treatments for waterborne exposure. Inductions of CAT were higher in diet-exposed worms to Cd as NPs vs soluble form suggesting a specific "nano" effect. Caspase activities increased in worms exposed to soluble Cd and Cd NPs for the two routes of exposure compared to controls. Defences, may be insufficient to prevent reactive oxygen species generation and the associated apoptosis. Behaviour of invertebrates inside sediment showed impairments of body movements in worms exposed to CdS NPs. This study points out oxidative processes as the main consequences of exposure to Cd based NPs in worms.

Bibliographic note

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Animals, Behavior, Animal, Biological Markers, Cadmium Compounds, Diet, Polychaeta, Quantum Dots, Seawater, Solubility, Sulfides