Particle number-based trophic transfer of gold nanomaterials in an aquatic food chain.


Abdolahpur Monikh F(1)(2), Chupani L(3), Arenas-Lago D(4), Guo Z(5), Zhang P(5), Darbha GK(6), Valsami-Jones E(5), Lynch I(5), Vijver MG(7), van Bodegom PM(7), Peijnenburg WJGM(7)(8).
Author information:
(1)Institute of Environmental Sciences
(CML), Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands. [Email]
(2)Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland. [Email]
(3)South Bohemian Research Center of Aquaculture and Biodiversity of Hydrocenoses, Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Waters, University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice, Vodňany, Czech Republic.
(4)Department of Plant Biology and Soil Science, University of Vigo, As Lagoas, Ourense, Spain.
(5)School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK.
(6)Environmental Nanoscience Laboratory, Department of Earth Sciences and Centre for Climate and Environmental Studies, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, Mohanpur, West Bengal, India.
(7)Institute of Environmental Sciences
(CML), Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.
(8)National Institute of Public Health and the Environment
(RIVM), Center for Safety of Substances and Products, De Bilt, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


Analytical limitations considerably hinder our understanding of the impacts of the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials (NMs) on their biological fate in organisms. Here, using a fit-for-purpose analytical workflow, including dosing and emerging analytical techniques, NMs present in organisms are characterized and quantified across an aquatic food chain. The size and shape of gold (Au)-NMs are shown to control the number of Au-NMs attached to algae that were exposed to an equal initial concentration of 2.9 × 1011 particles mL-1. The Au-NMs undergo size/shape-dependent dissolution and agglomeration in the gut of the daphnids, which determines the size distribution of the NMs accumulated in fish. The biodistribution of NMs in fish tissues (intestine, liver, gills, and brain) also depends on NM size and shape, although the highest particle numbers per unit of mass are almost always present in the fish brain. The findings emphasize the importance of physicochemical properties of metallic NMs in their biotransformations and tropic transfers.