Aqueous Hg2+ Associates with TiO2 Nanoparticles According to Particle Size, Changes Particle Agglomeration, and Becomes Less Bioavailable to Zebrafish


Halis Boran, David Boyle, Ilhan Altinok, Danae Patsiou, Theodore B. Henry


Engineered nanoparticles (NPs) have unique physicochemistry and potential to interact with other substances in the aqueous phase. Here, gene [metallothionein 2 (mt2)] expression changes in larval zebrafish were used to evaluate the association between aqueous Hg(2+) and TiO2 (NPs and bulk particle size control) to investigate the relationship between changes in Hg(2+) behavior and TiO2 size. During 24h exposures, TiO2 agglomerates increased in size and in the presence of 25μg Hg(2+)/L, greater increases in size were observed. The concentration of Hg(2+) in suspension also decreased in the presence of TiO2-NPs. Mercury increased expression of mt2 in larval zebrafish, but this response was lessened when zebrafish were exposed to Hg(2+) in the presence of TiO2-NPs, and which suggests that TiO2-NPs alter the bioavailability of Hg(2+) to zebrafish larvae. This ameliorative effect of TiO2 was also likely due to surface binding of Hg(2+) because a greater decrease in mt2 expression was observed in the presence of 1mg/L TiO2-NPs than 1mg/L TiO2-bulk. In conclusion, the results show that Hg(2+) will associate with TiO2-NPs, TiO2-NPs that have associated Hg(2+) will settle out of the aqueous phase more rapidly, and agglomerates will deliver associated Hg(2+) to sediment surfaces.

Access Full Publication


Boran H, Boyle D, Altinok I, Patsiou D, Henry TB. 2016. Aqueous Hg2+ associates with TiO2 nanoparticles according to particle size, changes particle agglomeration, and becomes less bioavailable to zebrafish. Aquatic Toxicology 174:242-246