Synthesized iron oxide nanoparticles have been proposed as an alternative to non-dispersed iron oxides for in situ environmental remediation. Their colloidal properties enable their injection into porous media, i.e. soils and aquifers, and offer a higher efficiency in removing contaminants. However, this dispersed state is also the cause of concerns over their environmental fate and toxicity, e.g., by increasing the exposure time to aquatic organisms in groundwater remediation activities. Therefore, the objective of in situ groundwater remediation is to establish local reactive barriers in the subsurface by injection by means of reactive colloids with a controllable mobility under in situ conditions and present as colloids as shortly as possible. In this work, we examined the toxicity of humic acid-coated colloidal goethite nanoparticles in Daphnia magna. The adaptation of the ecotoxicological standard tests for nanomaterials is intensely discussed to increase comparability and reliability of results. In the present study, the effect of different exposure conditions on goethite nanoparticles colloidal behaviour and acute Daphnia immobilization effects was investigated. For this purpose, iron concentration in the water column, aggregation state and acute effects were studied in: i) a standard test, ii) test design with exposure dispersions incubated for a week and iii) water accommodated fraction. Despite the different aggregation and settling of the particles found between the approaches tested, no differences in toxicity were observed. Coated nanoparticles were found clogging up the filtering apparatus, and/or adhered to the exoskeleton, hindering the swimming and molting, and causing the immobilization and death of the organisms at doses of ≥ 943 mg/L (EC50). The data suggests that the toxic potential of these nanoparticles is mainly related to the physical interaction with the daphnids.
González-Andrés, V., Diez-Ortiz, M., Delpivo, C., Janer, G., Fritzsche, A., & Vázquez-Campos, S. (2017). Acute ecotoxicity of coated colloidal goethite nanoparticles on Daphnia magna: Evaluating the influence of exposure approaches. Science of the Total Environment, 609, 172–179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.07.047