Complex role of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in the trophic transfer of arsenic from Nannochloropsis maritima to Artemia salina nauplii
Increasing concern has been focused on the potential risks associated with the trophic transfer to aquatic organisms of ambient contaminants in the presence of titanium dioxide nanoparticles (nano-TiO2). This study investigated the influence of nano-TiO2 on the trophic transfer of arsenic (As) from the microalgae Nannochloropsis maritima to the brine shrimp Artemia salina nauplii. We found that nano-TiO2 could significantly facilitate As sorption on N. maritima within an exposure period of 24 h, and this sorption subsequently led to higher As trophic transfer from the algae to A. salina according to trophic transfer factors (TTFAs+nano-TiO2 > TTFAs). However, after 48 h of depuration, the retention of As in A. salina fed As-nano-TiO2-contaminated algae was even lower than that in A. salina fed As-contaminated algae at the same exposure concentrations. This result indicates that the increased food chain transfer of As in the presence of nano-TiO2 can be explained by adsorption of As onto nano-TiO2 in contaminated food (algae), but the bioavailability of As in A. salina is reduced after the introduction of nanoparticles. Although the stress enzyme activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in A. salina at a lower As concentration treatment in the presence of nano-TiO2 were not significantly changed, they increased with higher exposure concentrations of As with or without nano-TiO2. Our study highlighted the complex role of nanomaterials in the transfer of ambient contaminants via trophic chains and the potential of nano-TiO2 to reduce the bioavailability of As via trophic transfer to saltwater zooplankton.