Zinc oxide-engineered nanoparticles: dissolution and toxicity to marine phytoplankton. Academic Article uri icon


  • It is now widely recognized that dissolution plays an important role in metallic nanoparticle toxicity, but to what extent remains unclear. In the present study, it was found that ZnO-engineered nanoparticle (ZnO-EN) toxicity to the marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana could be solely explained by zinc ion (Zn(2+) ) release. This is based on comparable inhibitive effects from ZnO-EN addition media, with or without the ultrafiltration through a 3-kD membrane, and from the media in which only Zn(2+) was added. Considering the importance of dissolution in ZnO-EN toxicity, Zn(2+) release kinetics was systematically examined under different conditions for the first time. It was found to be mainly influenced by pH as well as the specific surface area of the nanoparticles. In contrast, natural organic compounds either enhance or reduce Zn(2+) release, depending on their chemical composition and concentration. Compared with deionized water, ZnO-EN dissolution rates were accelerated in seawater, whereas ZnO-EN concentration itself only had a very small effect on Zn(2+) release. Therefore, dissolution as affected by several physicochemical factors should not be neglected in the effects, behavior, and fate of ENs in the environment.

published proceedings

  • Environ Toxicol Chem

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Miao, A., Zhang, X., Luo, Z., Chen, C., Chin, W., Santschi, P. H., & Quigg, A.

citation count

  • 203

complete list of authors

  • Miao, Ai-Jun||Zhang, Xue-Yin||Luo, Zhiping||Chen, Chi-Shuo||Chin, Wei-Chun||Santschi, Peter H||Quigg, Antonietta

publication date

  • December 2010