Importance of Surface Coating to Accumulation Dynamics and Acute Toxicity of Copper Nanomaterials and Dissolved Copper in Daphnia magna

Zuzanna Anna Gajda-Meissner, Konrad Matyja, David Brown, Mark G. J. Hartl, Teresa F. Fernandes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


We evaluated the effect of copper oxide nanomaterials (CuO NMs), uncoated and with 3 different surface coatings (carboxylated, pegylated, and ammonia groups), on acute toxicity and accumulation dynamics in Daphnia magna. With the use of biodynamic modelling, biosorption and elimination rate constants were determined for D. magna following waterborne exposure to dissolved Cu and CuO NMs. The relationship between modeled parameters and acute toxicity endpoints was evaluated to investigate whether accumulation dynamics parameters could be used as a predictor of acute toxicity. The Langmuir equation was used to characterize the biosorption dynamics of Cu NMs and Cu chloride, used as dissolved Cu control. Uptake rates showed the following NM rankings: pristine-CuO > NH 3-CuO > aqueous Cu > polyethylene glycol (PEG)-CuO > COOH-CuO. To determine Cu elimination by D. magna, a one-compartment model was used. Different elimination rate constants were estimated for each chemical substance tested. Those that were easily biosorbed were also easily removed from organisms. Biosorption and depuration properties of NMs were correlated with zeta potential values and diameters of NM agglomerates in the suspensions. No link was found between biosorption and toxicity. Waterborne exposures to more difficult-to-biosorb CuO NMs were more likely to induce adverse effects than those that biosorbed easily. It is proposed that some physicochemical properties of NMs in media, including zeta potential and agglomerate diameter, can lead to higher biosorption but do not necessarily affect toxicity. The mode of interaction of the NMs with the organism seems to be complex and to depend on chemical speciation and physicochemical properties of the NMs inside an organism. Moreover, our findings highlight that coating type affects the biosorption dynamics, depuration kinetics, and dissolution rate of NMs in media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-299
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number2
Early online date14 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Copper
  • Dose–response modeling
  • Metal uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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