John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Toxicity of ZnO nanoparticles to the copepod, Acartia tonsa, exposed through a phytoplankton diet

Zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles (NPs) are being increasingly utilized in a variety of products and applications and are therefore commonly discharged into aquatic environments, increasing exposure and potentially impacting aquatic organisms. ZnO NPs can depress growth of some marine phytoplankton, and several examples of NP trophic transfer have been documented, although not within planktonic communities. Here we test whether feeding on ZnO‐exposed phytoplankton could cause toxic effects in a widespread and ecologically important marine grazer, the copepod Acartia tonsa. We exposed the diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii to ZnO NPs for 7 d and measured growth, zinc accumulation, and zinc distribution within the algal cells to elucidate bioavailability to grazing copepods. T. weissflogii cultured with nano‐ZnO was continuously fed to A. tonsa for 7 d and reproduction and survival were quantified. A dose‐dependent growth reduction was observed in T. weissflogii exposed to nano‐ZnO, with an EC20 of 70 µg/L Zn and a LOEC of 99 µg/L Zn. Zinc accumulation in the algae occurred dose‐dependently over time with the majority of the zinc partitioning into the cell wall fraction. Feeding on ZnO‐exposed diatoms led to a decrease in copepod survival and reproduction. The EC20s corresponding to the dissolved zinc concentration in the T. weissflogii exposure media were 112 µg/L (13 µg/g dw) and 62 µg/L (16 µg/g dw) and the LOECs were 168 µg/L (17 µg/g dw) and 263 µg/L (21 µg/g dw) for copepod survival and reproduction, respectively. These results provide evidence of trophic transfer of metal contaminants associated with metal oxide nanomaterials within a marine plankton community leading to the reduction in individual demographic performance of an important coastal marine grazer. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2013 SETAC

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