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Laboratory Scale Microbial Food Chain To Study Bioaccumulation, Biomagnification, and Ecotoxicity of Cadmium Telluride Quantum Dots

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posted on 2017-01-09, 00:00 authored by Govind S. Gupta, Ashutosh Kumar, Violet A. Senapati, Alok K. Pandey, Rishi Shanker, Alok Dhawan
The increasing applications of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in consumer products warrant a careful evaluation of their trophic transfer and consequent ecological impact. In the present study, a laboratory scale aquatic microbial food chain was established using bacteria (Escherichia coli (E. coli)) as a prey and ciliated protozoan (Paramecium caudatum) as a predator organism to determine the impact of cadmium telluride quantum dots (CdTe QDs). We observed that 29% of bacterivory potential of paramecium was lost, including an ∼12 h delay in doubling time on exposure to 25 mg/L CdTe QD (∼4 nm) as compared to control. The fluorescence based stoichiometric analysis revealed that 65% of the QDs bioaccumulated when paramecia were exposed to 25 mg/L QDs at 24 h. There was a significant (p < 0.05) increase in cellular cadmium (Cd) concentration at 24 h (306 ± 192 mg/L) as compared to 1 h (152 ± 50 mg/L). Moreover, the accumulation of Cd in E. coli (147 ± 25 mg/L) at 1 h of exposure to 25 mg/L QDs transferred 1.4 times higher Cd (207 ± 24 mg/L; biomagnification factor = 1.4) to its predator, paramecium.

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