There are concerns that regulatory toxicity tests are not fit for purpose for engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) or need modifications. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the OECD 210 fish, early-life stage toxicity test for use with TiO2 ENMs, Ag ENMs, and MWCNT. Both TiO2 ENMS (≤160 mg l(-1)) and MWCNT (≤10 mg l(-1)) showed limited acute toxicity, whilst Ag ENMs were acutely toxic to zebrafish, though less so than AgNO3 (6-day LC50 values of 58.6 and 5.0 µg l(-1), respectively). Evidence of delayed hatching, decreased body length and increased muscle width in the tail was seen in fish exposed to Ag ENMs. Oedema (swollen yolk sacs) was also seen in fish from both Ag treatments with, for example, mean yolk sac volumes of 17, 35 and 39 µm(3) for the control, 100 µg l(-1) Ag ENMs and 5 µg l(-1) AgNO3 treatments, respectively. Among the problems with the standard test guidelines was the inability to maintain the test solutions within ±20 % of nominal concentrations. Pronounced settling of the ENMs in some beakers also made it clear the fish were not being exposed to nominal concentrations. To overcome this, the exposure apparatus was modified with the addition of an exposure chamber that ensured mixing without damaging the delicate embryos/larvae. This allowed more homogeneous ENM exposures, signified by improved measured concentrations in the beakers (up to 85.7 and 88.1 % of the nominal concentrations from 10 mg l(-1) TiO2 and 50 µg l(-1) Ag ENM exposures, respectively) and reduced variance between measurements compared to the original method. The recommendations include: that the test is conducted using exposure chambers, the use of quantitative measurements for assessing hatching and morphometrics, and where there is increased sensitivity of larvae over embryos to conduct a shorter, larvae-only toxicity test with the ENMs.



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Archives of Toxicology





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School of Biological and Marine Sciences