Detrimental Effects of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles on Amphibian Life Stages

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While the use of nanoparticles has dramatically increased in recent years, the ecological consequences are not well known. In particular, little research has been done to investigate the potentially detrimental effects of nanoparticles on amphibians, especially across all life-history stages of salamanders and newts (caudates). To address this dearth in knowledge, we examined the effects of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles on egg, larval, and adult Rough-skinned Newts (Taricha granulosa). Chronic toxicity was tested on eggs and larvae, and acute toxicity was tested on eggs, larvae, and adults. For eggs, chronic exposure to ZnO nanoparticles caused higher mortality at 10.0 and 100.0 mg L−1 compared to 0.0, 0.1, and 1.0 mg L−1. When given an acute exposure (24 hr) to 10.0 mg L−1 nanoparticles at a late developmental stage, larvae hatched 5 days early, at a decreased developmental stage, and smaller size compared to the control. Chronic and acute exposure of larvae increased mortality up to 75% at both 10.0 and 100.0 mg L−1 and exhibited sublethal effects, most dramatically, severe gill degradation. These results suggest nanoparticles can have lethal and sublethal effects on all life stages of amphibians.

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