Implications of Shape Factors on Fate, Uptake, and Nanotoxicity of Gold Nanomaterials
Abtahi, Seyyed Mohammad Hossein
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Noble metal nanoparticles such as gold and silver are of interest because of the unique electro-optical properties (e.g., localized surface plasmon resonance [LSPR]) that originate from the collective behavior of their surface electrons. These nanoparticles are commonly developed and used for biomedical and industrial application. A recent report has predicted that the global market for gold nanoparticles will be over 12.7 tons by year 2020. However, these surface-functionalized nanoparticles can be potential environmental persistent contaminants post-use due to their high colloidal stability in the aquatic systems. Despite, the environmental risks associated with these nanoparticles, just a few studies have investigated the effect of nanofeature factors such as size and shape on the overall fate/transport and organismal uptake of these nanomaterials in the aquatic matrices. This study presents a comprehensive approach to evaluate the colloidal stability, fate/transport, and organismal uptake of these nanoparticles while factoring in the size and shape related properties. We demonstrate the importance and effect of anisotropicity of a gold nanoparticle on the colloidal behavior and interaction with ecologically susceptible aquatic biota. We also show how readily available characterization techniques can be utilized to monitor and assess the fate/transport of this class of nanoparticles. We further describe and investigate the relationship between the aspect ratio (AR) of these elongated gold nanoparticles with clearance mechanisms and rates from the aquatic suspension columns including aggregation, deposition, and biopurification. We illustrate how a fresh water filter-feeder bivalve, Corbicula fluminea, can be used as a model organism to study the size and shape-selective biofiltration and nanotoxicity of elongated gold nanoparticles. The results suggest that biofiltration by C. fluminea increases with an increase in the size and AR of gold nanoparticle. We develop a simple nanotoxicity assay to investigate the short-term exposure nanotoxicity of gold nanoparticles to C. fluminea. The toxicity results indicate that for the tested concentration and exposure period that gold nanoparticles were not acutely toxic (i.e., not lethal). However, gold nanoparticles significantly inhibited the activities of some antioxidant enzymes in gill and digestive gland tissues. These inhibitions could directly affect the resistance of these organisms to a secondary stressor (temperature, pathogens, hypoxia etc.) and threaten organismal health.
- Doctoral Dissertations