A screening study on the fate of fullerenes (nC60) and their toxic implications in natural freshwaters


Address correspondence to kukka.pakarinen@uef.fi.


Increasing usage of fullerenes (C60) increases their opportunities to be released into the environment. For risk assessment, it is important to understand the environmental fate and ecotoxicological effects of C60. In the present study, fullerene settling was measured during a 1-yr period with 4 different lake waters and an artificial freshwater, and Daphnia magna immobilization and fullerene accumulation was also measured in each of the lake waters. Depending on the characteristics of the lake waters, fullerenes either exhibited extended water stability or settled rapidly; in all waters, there was a fraction that remained stable after 1 yr. Water stability was affected by the quality and molecular size distribution of dissolved natural organic matter (DNOM). Increasing DNOM molecular sizes with high aromatic content enhanced water stability. Immobilization of D. magna was generally quite low (under 20%) and highly variable after 24 h and 48 h at initial fullerene concentrations up to 10 mg/L. Substantial settling occurred during the time period for acute toxicity assays (i.e., 48 h), which should be anticipated when conducting toxicity assays. There were no significant differences in the quantity of accumulated fullerenes among the different lake waters at fullerene concentrations of 0.5 mg/L, but there were differences at 2 mg/L. Environ Toxicol Chem 2013;32:1224-1232. © 2013 SETAC