For the larvae of the fruit fly, nanoscale Carbon Black (CB) administered in feed, was non-toxic, and the development and fertility of adult flies was not affected. However, particles enriched in the fly’s body and were still visible in adult animals as a distinct black coloration in the body.

 

The common mussel in water containing carbon black. The filter feeders try to get rid of the particles by excreting mucus (arrows). © Canesi et al., 2010.The common mussel in water containing carbon black. The filter feeders try to get rid of the particles by excreting mucus (arrows). © Canesi et al., 2010.The particle powder adhered quickly and firmly to the exterior of adult exposed animals, and removal by the natural grooming behavior was not possible. The particle-coating led to impaired mobility and killed the animals within hours by blocking the breathing holes [1]. Such an exposure scenario to large amounts of pure Carbon Black is highly unlikely under real environmental conditions. Ground-dwelling amphipods also showed an increased mortality when exposed to very high concentrations of Carbon Black [2].

 

A brown algae, the toothed wrack was selected as a marine model organism, and effects on fertilization, embryo development and germination in the presence of nano-and microscale Carbon Black has been investigated [3]. No uptake of nanoscale Carbon Black was observed, but very high concentrations prevented the fertilization and development. However, germination and root growth were unaffected.

Since mussels feed by filtering smallest particles from the water, they are considered particularly at risk by expsoure to engineered nanoparticles. Carbon Black strongly influenced the immune system and certain digestive processes of animals, indicating an uptake of the particles from the water [4,5].

 

Soot from exhaust gases, which was not precisely defined in terms of size, reduced the toxic effect of a weed control agent to a green algae [6]. This effect can be explained with the strong binding of chemicals to soot particles, making them unavailable for the algae and therefore no longer toxic.

 

In conclusion, nano-scaled, pure Carbon Black as a material is little toxic for the organisms studied. Harmful effects can be found, however, due to the strong binding of the soot on surfaces and chemicals.

 

Literatur arrow down

  1. Liu, XY et al. (2009), Environ Sci Technol, 43(16): 6357-6363.
  2. Kennedy, AJ et al. (2008), Environ Toxicol Chem, 27(9): 1932-1941.
  3. Nielsen, HD et al. (2008), Nanotoxicology, 2(2): 88-97.
  4. Canesi, L et al. (2008), Environ Int, 34(8): 1114-1119.
  5. Canesi, L et al. (2010), Aquat Toxicol, 100(2): 168-177.
  6. Knauer, K et al. (2007), Aquat Toxicol, 83(2): 143-148.

 

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