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A novel approach reveals that zinc oxide nanoparticles are bioavailable and toxic after dietary exposures

January 1, 2011

If engineered nanomaterials are released into the environment, some are likely to end up associated with the food of animals due to aggregation and sorption processes. However, few studies have considered dietary exposure of nanomaterials. Here we show that zinc (Zn) from isotopically modified 67ZnO particles is efficiently assimilated by freshwater snails when ingested with food. The 67Zn from nano-sized 67ZnO appears as bioavailable as 67Zn internalized by diatoms. Apparent agglomeration of the zinc oxide (ZnO) particles did not reduce bioavailability, nor preclude toxicity. In the diet, ZnO nanoparticles damage digestion: snails ate less, defecated less and inefficiently processed the ingested food when exposed to high concentrations of ZnO. It was not clear whether the toxicity was due to the high Zn dose achieved with nanoparticles or to the ZnO nanoparticles themselves. Further study of exposure from nanoparticles in food would greatly benefit assessment of ecological and human health risks.

Publication Year 2011
Title A novel approach reveals that zinc oxide nanoparticles are bioavailable and toxic after dietary exposures
DOI 10.3109/17435390.2010.501914
Authors Marie-Noële Croteau, A.D. Dybowska, S. N. Luoma, E. Valsami-Jones
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Nanotoxicology
Index ID 70036643
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program