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Ecotoxicological Studies of CdS Nanoparticles on Photosynthetic Microorganisms

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The potential ecotoxicity of nanosized cadmium sulfide (CdS), synthesized by the polyol process, was investigated using common Anabaena flos-aquae cyanobacteria and Euglena gracilis euglenoid microalgae. The photosynthetic activities of these microorganisms, after addition of free Cd2+ ions and CdS nanoparticles, varied with the presence of tri-n-octylphosphine oxide (TOPO) used to protect surface particle to avoid toxicity and also to control particle size and shape during the synthesis. The nanoparticle concentration was varied from 10−3 to 5·10−4 M. It was observed that the cadmium concentration, the addition of TOPO protective agent and the particle dissolution process in the culture medium play an important role during the ecotoxicological tests. Viability tests were followed by PAM fluorimetry. Cd2+ ions were very toxic for Anabaena flos aquae. The same behavior was observed after contact with CdS and CdS-TOPO nanoparticles. However, for Euglena gracilis, the photosynthetic activity was stable for more than 1 month in the presence of Cd2+ ions. Moreover, it was observed that the toxicity varies with the concentration of CdS and CdS-TOPO nanoparticles, both kind of nanoparticles are toxic for this microorganism. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analyses of microorganisms ultrathin sections showed that polysaccharides produced by Anabaena flos-aquae, after contact with CdS and CdS-TOPO nanoparticles, protect the microalgae against particle internalization. Only some particles were observed inside the cells. Moreover, the nanoparticle internalization was observed after contact with all nanoparticles in the presence of Euglena gracilis by endocytosis. All nanoparticles are inside vesicles formed by the cells.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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