Size dependent bioaccumulation and ecotoxicity of gold nanoparticles in an endobenthic invertebrate: the Tellinid clam Scrobicularia plana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Jin-Fen Pan
  • Pierre-Emmanuel Buffet
  • Laurence Poirier
  • Claude Amiard-Triquet
  • Douglas Gilliland
  • Yolaine Joubert
  • Paul Pilet
  • Marielle Guibbolini
  • Christine Risso de Faverney
  • Michèle Roméo
  • Catherine Mouneyrac

Colleges, School and Institutes


Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have important technological applications resulting in an increased potential for release to the environment, and a greater possibility of toxicological effects. The marine bivalve Scrobicularia plana was exposed to AuNPs of size 5, 15 and 40 nm during a 16 d laboratory exposure at 100 μg Au L(-1). After exposure to AuNPs forming aggregates (>700 nm), the clams accumulated Au in their soft tissues. Biochemical (biomarkers) and behavioral (burrowing and feeding) responses were investigated. Au NPs were responsible of metallothionein induction (5, 40 nm), increased activities of catalase (15, 40 nm) and superoxide dismutase (40 nm) and of glutathione S-transferase by the three sizes of AuNPs indicating defense against oxidative stress. Exposure to AuNPs impaired burrowing behavior. However, it must be underlined that these effects were observed at a dose much higher than expected in the environment.

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Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • Acetylcholinesterase, Animals, Behavior, Animal, Biological Markers, Bivalvia, Catalase, Glutathione Transferase, Gold, Metal Nanoparticles, Metallothionein, Oxidative Stress, Superoxide Dismutase, Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances, Water Pollutants, Chemical