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Hyperbranched polymeric nanomaterials impair the freshwater crustacean Daphnia magna

Martín-de-Lucía, Idoia, Leganés, Francisco, Fernández-Piñas, Francisca, Rosal, Roberto
Environmental pollution 2019 v.249 pp. 581-588
Daphnia magna, antioxidant activity, catalase, defense mechanisms, excretion, feces, freshwater crustaceans, gastrointestinal system, glutathione transferase, nanomaterials, polyesters, toxicity
Hyperbranched polymers are nanomaterials belonging to the class of dendritic architectures with increasing applications in many diverse fields. We studied the toxicity of two hyperbranched polymers to the freshwater crustacean Daphnia magna. A hyperbranched hydroxyl-terminated polyester and a commercial hyperbranched polyamidoamine, Helux-3316 were tested for the acute immobilization of daphnids, the overproduction of reactive oxygen species and the activity of the antioxidant enzymes catalase and glutathione S-transferase. The effect for D. magna immobilization was higher for the hyperbranched polyamidoamine Helux-3316, which was attributed to the presence of primary amino groups on its surface. Following exposure to both hyperbranched polymers, a clear overproduction of reactive oxygen species took place accompanied by concentration-dependent enzymatic antioxidant response. Our results showed that the overproduction of reactive oxygen species activated antioxidant defence mechanisms and was responsible for the immobilization of daphnids exposed to both hyperbranched polymers. We showed evidence of the uptake of fluorescently labelled Helux-3316 that accumulated into the gastrointestinal tract of D. magna, and its removal via excretion within fecal pellets. This is the first work reporting the internalization of hyperbranched polymers in aquatic organisms.