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The surface reactivity and implied toxicity of ash produced from sugarcane burning

Authors

  • Jennifer S. Le Blond,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Downing Place, Cambridge CB2 3EN, United Kingdom
    2. Department of Mineralogy, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom
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  • Maura Tomatis,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dipartimento di Chimica I.F.M., Università degli studi di Torino, Via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
    2. “G. Scansetti” Interdepartmental Center for Studies on Asbestos and other Toxic Particulates, Università degli studi di Torino, Via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
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  • Claire J. Horwell,

    1. Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Science Labs, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom
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  • Christina Dunster,

    1. Lung Biology Group, Pharmaceutical Science Division, King's College London, London SE1 9NH, United Kingdom
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  • Fiona Murphy,

    1. MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, The Queen's medical Research Institute, 47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, United Kingdom, >
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  • Ingrid Corazzari,

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica I.F.M., Università degli studi di Torino, Via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
    2. “G. Scansetti” Interdepartmental Center for Studies on Asbestos and other Toxic Particulates, Università degli studi di Torino, Via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
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  • Francesca Grendene,

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica I.F.M., Università degli studi di Torino, Via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
    2. “G. Scansetti” Interdepartmental Center for Studies on Asbestos and other Toxic Particulates, Università degli studi di Torino, Via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
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  • Francesco Turci,

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica I.F.M., Università degli studi di Torino, Via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
    2. “G. Scansetti” Interdepartmental Center for Studies on Asbestos and other Toxic Particulates, Università degli studi di Torino, Via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
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  • Elena Gazzano,

    1. “G. Scansetti” Interdepartmental Center for Studies on Asbestos and other Toxic Particulates, Università degli studi di Torino, Via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
    2. Dipartimento di Genetica, Biologia e Biochimica, Università degli studi di Torino, Via Santena, 5/bis, 10126 Torino, Italy, >
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  • Dario Ghigo,

    1. “G. Scansetti” Interdepartmental Center for Studies on Asbestos and other Toxic Particulates, Università degli studi di Torino, Via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
    2. Dipartimento di Genetica, Biologia e Biochimica, Università degli studi di Torino, Via Santena, 5/bis, 10126 Torino, Italy, >
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  • Ben J. Williamson,

    1. Camborne School of Mines, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9EZ, United Kingdom, >
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  • Clive Oppenheimer,

    1. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Downing Place, Cambridge CB2 3EN, United Kingdom
    2. Le Studium, Institute for Advanced Studies, Orléans and Tours, France, >
    3. Istitut des Sciences de la Terre d'Orléans, 1a rue de la Férollerie, 45071 Orléans, Cedex 2, France
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  • Bice Fubini

    1. Dipartimento di Chimica I.F.M., Università degli studi di Torino, Via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
    2. “G. Scansetti” Interdepartmental Center for Studies on Asbestos and other Toxic Particulates, Università degli studi di Torino, Via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
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Abstract

Sugarcane combustion generates fine-grained particulate that has the potential to be a respiratory health hazard because of its grain size and composition. In particular, conversion of amorphous silica to crystalline forms during burning may provide a source of toxic particles. In this study, we investigate and evaluate the toxicity of sugarcane ash and bagasse ash formed from commercial sugarcane burning. Experiments to determine the main physicochemical properties of the particles, known to modulate biological responses, were combined with cellular toxicity assays to gain insight into the potential reactions that could occur at the particle-lung interface following inhalation. The specific surface area of the particles ranged from ∼16 to 90 m2 g−1. The samples did not generate hydroxyl- or carbon-centered radicals in cell-free tests. However, all samples were able to ‘scavenge’ an external source of hydroxyl radicals, which may be indicative of defects on the particle surfaces that may interfere with cellular processes. The bioavailable iron on the particle surfaces was low (2–3 μmol m−2), indicating a low propensity for iron-catalyzed radical generation. The sample surfaces were all hydrophilic and slightly acidic, which may be due to the presence of oxygenated (functional) groups. The ability to cause oxidative stress and membrane rupture in red blood cells (hemolysis) was found to be low, indicating that the samples are not toxic by the mechanisms tested. Cytotoxicity of sugarcane ash was observed, by measuring lactate dehydrogenase release, after incubation of relatively high concentrations of ash with murine alveolar macrophage cells. All samples induced nitrogen oxide release (although only at very high concentrations) and reactive oxygen species generation (although the bagasse samples were less potent than the sugarcane ash). However, the samples induced significantly lower cytotoxic effects and nitrogen oxide generation when compared with the positive control. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 29: 503–516, 2014.

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