Main content area

Analysis of ZnO nanoparticle-induced changes in Oreochromis niloticus behavior as toxicity endpoint

de Campos, Raphael Pires, Chagas, Thales Quintão, da Silva Alvarez, Tenilce Gabriela, Mesak, Carlos, de Andrade Vieira, Julya Emmanuela, Paixão, Caroliny Fátima Chaves, de Lima Rodrigues, Aline Sueli, de Menezes, Ivandilson Pessoa Pinto, Malafaia, Guilherme
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.682 pp. 561-571
Oreochromis niloticus, Salminus brasiliensis, animal models, antipredatory behavior, bioaccumulation, defensive behavior, eating habits, ecotoxicology, flight, nanoparticles, pellets, pollutants, predators, risk, tissues, toxicity, zinc, zinc oxide
The toxicity of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) has been investigated in different animal models. However, concentrations tested in most studies are often much higher than the ones potentially identified in the environment. Therefore, such toxicity limits the application of these studies to evaluate ecotoxicological risks posed by these nanopollutants. Thus, the aim of the current study is to evaluate the impacts of ZnO NPs (at environmentally relevant concentrations - 760 μg/L and 76,000 μg/L, for 72 h) on the behavioral responses of Oreochromis niloticus (Nile tilapia) exposed to it. Results did not evidence harmful effects of NPs on animals' locomotor abilities (evaluated through open-field and light-dark transition tests), or anxiety-predictive behavior. On the other hand, Zn bioaccumulation in the body tissues of the analyzed tilapias was correlated to changes in eating behavior (motivated by ration pellets), as well as to deficits in antipredatory defensive behavior (under individual and collective conditions). Tilapia exposed to ZnO NPs recorded lower avoidance, flight and territorialist behavior rates when they were individually confronted with potential predators (Salminus brasiliensis). However, collectively exposed animals were unable to recognize their predators, as well as to differentiate them from artificial baits (“false predators”). The present study is the first to report biological impacts resulting from the short exposure of fish-group representatives to ZnO NPs. Thus, we believe that it may be relevant to improve the knowledge about ecotoxicological risks posed by these pollutants.