Hazardous potential of manufactured nanoparticles identified by in vivo assay
New products of nanotechnologies, including nanoparticles, need to be assessed according to their biological reactivity and toxic potential. Given the large number of diverse nanomaterials, a tiered approach is favoured. The aim of our work presented here is to elaborate an in vivo assay with terrestrial invertebrates (Porcellio scaber), which could serve as a first step of hazard identification of nanoparticles. We adapted the widely used acridine orange/ethidium bromide (AO/EB) assay to be applicable for cell membrane stability assessment of entire organ where the animal was exposed in vivo. The digestive glands (hepatopancreas) of terrestrial isopods were taken as a model test system. The assay was validated with Cu(NO3)2 and surfactants. The results showed that all tested nanoparticles, i.e. nanosized TiO2, nanosized ZnO and fullerenes (C60) have cell membrane destabilization potential. As expected, C60 is the most biologically potent. The AO/EB in vivo assay proved to be fast because response is recorded after 30 min of exposure, relatively simple because digestive glands are inspected immediately after isolation from exposed animals and promising approach because different types of nanoparticles could be tested for their biological potential. This assay provides data for the identification of hazardous potential of nanoparticles before subsequent steps in a tiered approach are decided.