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Toxicity of different sized copper nano‐ and sub‐micron particles and their shed copper ions to zebrafish embryos

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Three sizes of copper nanoparticles (Cu NPs, 25, 50, and 100 nm), one sub‐micron sized particle (SMPs) and Cu(NO3)2 were added to the culture buffer of zebrafish embryos from 24 hours post‐fertilization (hpf) to 120 hpf. In suspensions of Cu NPs and the Cu SMP, the main contribution to the toxicity to zebrafish embryos was from the particle form of Cu particles (CuNPparticle, >71%) rather than from dissolved Cu from the Cu particles (CuNPion). All particles tested, as well as copper nitrate inhibited hatching, altered behavioral responses, and increased the incidence of malformations. Different kinds of abnormalities were observed in the morphology and behavior of the zebrafish embryos, depending on the particle size of the Cu suspensions tested. The LC50 values of Cu NPparticle (25, 50, and 100 nm), the SMPparticle and the copper nitrate were found to be 1.07, 2.02, 2.39, 0.55, and 0.70 mg/L, respectively. SMPs and copper nitrate were more toxic than Cu NPs, while smaller Cu NPs were more toxic than larger Cu NPs. Dissolution of Cu NPs and subsequent ion‐toxicity was not the primary mechanism of Cu NPs toxicity in zebrafish embryos. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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