Sublethal effects of ionic and nanogold on the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans
Botha, Tarryn Lee
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Te nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is used as an ecotoxicological model species in both aqueous medium and solid substrates. It is easy and of low cost to maintain in the laboratory and it produces hundreds of ofspring within a short period of time. It also has a small body size (1 mm), making it possible for in vivo assays to be conducted in 12-well plates. Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are a class of emerging pollutants. Nanogold (nAu) is used in many consumer products and in vivo drug delivery. Tese materials can be released into the aquatic environment during production or discarding of consumer products. As nAu is insoluble in water, the sediment would become the fnal depository for the materials. It has become increasingly important to use sediment dwelling organisms to screen for possible toxicity of these ENMs. In this study C. elegans was exposed to a range of concentrations of nAu and ionic gold in M9-media, acting as a substitute for pore water. Afer 96-hour growth, fertility and reproduction were determined. Internal structure damage and internalisation of particles in C. elegans were determined by using SEM and CytoViva Darkfeld Imaging. From these images the nanomaterials are distributed around the oocytes in the reproductive organs, as well as the pharynx. Results obtained indicate that nAu afects reproduction more than growth due to internal gonad damage, albeit at very high exposure concentrations, indicating no toxicity at environmentally relevant concentrations. Ionic Au is more toxic than nAu and efects fertility and reproduction due to ion release. Tese results give more information regarding the toxicity and in vivo uptake of nAu and form part of an environmental risk assessment of ENMs.