Multilaboratory evaluation of 15 bioassays for (eco)toxicity screening and hazard ranking of engineered nanomaterials: FP7 project NANOVALID

Bondarenko OM, Heinlaan M, Sihtmäe M, Ivask A, Kurvet I, Joonas E, Jemec A, Mannerström M, Heinonen T, Rekulapelly R, Singh S, Zou J, Pyykkö I, Drobne D, Kahru A
[ site ] Nanotoxicology, 2016

Within EU FP7 project NANOVALID the (eco)toxicity of 7 well-characterized engineered nanomaterials (NMs) was evaluated by 15 bioassays in 4 laboratories. The highest tested nominal concentration of NMs was 100 mg/L. The panel of the bioassays yielded the following toxicity order: Ag > ZnO > CuO > TiO2 > MWCNTs > SiO2 > Au.

Ag, ZnO and CuO proved very toxic in the majority of assays, assumingly due to dissolution. The latter was supported by the parallel analysis of the toxicity of respective soluble metal salts. The most sensitive tests/species were Daphnia magna (towards Ag NMs, 24-h EC50=0.003 mg Ag/L), algae Raphidocelis subcapitata (ZnO and CuO, 72-h EC50=0.14 mg Zn/L and 0.7 mg Cu/L, respectively) and murine fibroblasts BALB/3T3 (CuO, 48-h EC50=0.7 mg Cu/L). MWCNTs showed toxicity only towards rat alveolar macrophages (EC50=15.3 mg/L) assumingly due to high aspect ratio and TiO2 towards R. subcapitata (EC50=6.8 mg Ti/L) due to agglomeration of TiO2 and entrapment of algal cells.

Finally, we constructed a decision tree to select the bioassays for hazard ranking of NMs. For NM testing, we recommend a multitrophic suite of 4 in vitro (eco)toxicity assays: 48-h D. magna immobilization (OECD202), 72-h R. subcapitata growth inhibition (OECD201), 30-min Vibrio fischeri bioluminescence inhibition (ISO2010) and 48-h murine fibroblast BALB/3T3 neutral red uptake in vitro (OECD129) representing crustaceans, algae, bacteria and mammalian cells, respectively. Notably, our results showed that these assays, standardized for toxicity evaluation of “regular”’ chemicals, proved efficient also for shortlisting of hazardous NMs. Additional assays are recommended for immunotoxicity evaluation of high aspect ratio NMs (such as MWCNTs).