Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Environmental Toxicology

Committee Chair/Advisor

Klaine, Steven J

Committee Member

Baldwin , William` S

Committee Member

Lee , Cindy M

Committee Member

Mount , Andrew S

Committee Member

Roberts , Aaron P


Nanomaterials are a class of materials with unique properties due to their size, and the association of these properties with the toxicity of nanomaterials is poorly understood. The present study assessed the toxic effects of stable aqueous colloidal suspensions of three distinctly different classes of nanomaterials in aquatic organisms. The fullerene, C70, was stabilized through non-covalent surface modification with gallic acid. Toxicity of C70-gallic acid was confirmed to exhibit similar toxic effects as C60-fullerene, including changes in antioxidative processes in Daphnia magna. Daphnia magna fecundity was significantly reduced in 21d bioassays at C70-gallic concentrations below quantifiable limits (0.03 mg/L C70). Antioxidant enzyme activities of glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase as well as lipid peroxidation suggested that exposed organisms experienced oxidative stress.
Carbon dots are a class of nanomaterials proposed for use as nontoxic alternatives to semiconductor quantum dots for photoluminescent applications, because of the difference in toxicity of their core components: carbon as opposed to heavy metals. In vivo analysis of treated organisms by confocal fluorescence microscopy revealed carbon dots were absorbed and systemically distributed regardless of particle size. The present study did not find any evidence of acute toxicity at concentrations up to 10mg/L carbon dots. These concentrations also failed to produce negative effects in Ceriodaphnia dubia bioassays to predict chronic toxicity. Carbon dots also failed to elicit developmental toxic effects in zebrafish.
The toxic effects of semiconductor quantum dots have been partially attributed to the release of heavy metals with their degradation, particularly cadmium. Laser ablation inductively coupled mass spectrometry was used to compare the uptake of cadmium, selenium and zinc in Daphnia magna treated to CdSe/ZnS quantum dots or CdCl2. These quantum dots were observed to accumulate primarily in the gut lumen and no evidence of uptake of intact quantum dots was observed. Evidence suggests degradation of the quantum dots release of component ions with accumulation of Cd and Zn in the gut epithelia. Quantum dots elicited acute toxicity at 0.66 mg/L Cd but promoted increased reproduction at 40 µg/L.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.