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Nanocolloids In Natural Water: Isolation, Characterization, And Toxicity.

Shaohu Ouyang, Xiangang Hu, Qixing Zhou, X. Li, Xinyu Miao, Ruiren Zhou
Published 2018 · Chemistry, Medicine

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Nanocolloids are widespread in natural water systems, but their characterization and ecological risks are largely unknown. Herein, tangential flow ultrafiltration (TFU) was used to separate and concentrate nanocolloids from surface waters. Unexpectedly, nanocolloids were present in high concentrations ranging from 3.7 to 7.2 mg/L in the surface waters of the Harihe River in Tianjin City, China. Most of the nanocolloids were 10-40 nm in size, contained various trace metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and exhibited fluorescence properties. Envelopment effects and aggregation of Chlorella vulgaris in the presence of nanocolloids were observed. Nanocolloids entered cells and nanocolloid-exposed cells exhibited stronger plasmolysis, chloroplast damage and more starch grains than the control cells. Moreover, nanocolloids inhibited the cell growth, promoted reactive oxygen species (ROS), reduce the chlorophyll a content and increased the cell permeability. The genotoxicity of nanocolloids was also observed. The metabolomics analysis revealed a significant ( p < 0.05) downregulation of amino acids and upregulation of fatty acids contributing to ROS increase, chlorophyll a decrease and plasmolysis. The present work reveals that nanocolloids, which are different from specific, engineered nanoparticles (e.g., Ag nanoparticles), are present at high concentrations, exhibit an obvious toxicity in environments, and deserve more attention in the future.
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