Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)


Fate and Behavior of Titanium Dioxide in Aquatic Ecosystems


Jason Coral


Dr. Steve Klaine

Document Type



Environmental Toxicology

Publication Date

Spring 2013


One common use of TiO2 particles is use in sunscreen. As a result of aggressive sunscreen campaigns sponsored by the CDC in the early 2000’s, sunscreen use is high. As a result, there is concern that the nanoparticles that make these sunscreens effective wash off of sunbathers in the water. The fate and impact of these nanoparticles in aquatic ecosystems is uncertain. Recent research has shown that these nanoparticles form reactive oxygen species (ROS) that may be harmful to aquatic organisms. The objective of this research is to characterize the production of reactive oxygen species created by TiO2 nanoparticles being exposed to light in fresh and marine waters. ROS will be measured by Electron Paramagnetic Resonance spectroscopy. TiO2 will be suspended in water that varies in pH, dissolved organic carbon, and salinity. Light treatments will include ultraviolet light, full sunlight, infrared light, and no illumination, for 28 days. Previous research has demonstrated activation of ROS species when TiO2 was exposed to various light wavelengths but has yet to show a time related studies. In the future, once ROS production is characterized, acute and chronic toxicity will be assessed using standard Daphnia magna bioassays.

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