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Toxic Or Not Toxic, That Is The Carbon Quantum Dot’s Question: A Comprehensive Evaluation With Zebrafish Embryo, Eleutheroembryo, And Adult Models

Chih-Yu Chung, Yu-Ju Chen, Chia-Hui Kang, Hung-Yun Lin, Chih-Ching Huang, Pang-Hung Hsu, Han-Jia Lin

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Carbon quantum dots (CQDs) are emerging novel nanomaterials with a wide range of applications and high biocompatibility. However, there is a lack of in-depth research on whether CQDs can cause acute or long-term adverse reactions in aquatic organisms. In this study, two different types of CQDs prepared by ammonia citrate and spermidine, namely CQDAC and CQDSpd, were used to evaluate their biocompatibilities. In the fish embryo acute toxicity test (FET), the LD50 of CQDAC and CQDSpd was about 500 and 100 ppm. During the stage of eleutheroembryo, the LD50 decreased to 340 and 55 ppm, respectively. However, both CQDs were quickly eliminated from embryo and eleutheroembryo, indicating a lack of bioaccumulation. Long-term accumulation of CQDs was also performed in this study, and adult zebrafish showed no adverse effects in 12 weeks. In addition, there was no difference in the hatchability and deformity rates of offspring produced by adult zebrafish, regardless of whether they were fed CQDs or not. The results showed that both CQDAC and CQDSpd have low toxicity and bioaccumulation to zebrafish. Moreover, the toxicity assay developed in this study provides a comprehensive platform to assess the impacts of CQDs on aquatic organisms in the future.