The use of nanoparticles in various applications is steadily on the rise, with use in a range of applications, including printer toner, sunscreen, medical imaging, and enhanced drug delivery. While research on human effects via, for example, inhalation is relatively well developed, the environmental assessment of nanoparticles is in its infancy. In the present study, we assessed the uptake and quantitative accumulation, as well as the depuration, of a model nanoparticle, a 20-nm fluorescent carboxylated polystyrene bead, in the aquatic invertebrate Daphnia magna and compared it to a larger, 1,000-nm particle. Using confocal microscopy, rapid accumulation in the gastrointestinal tract was observed within an hour of exposure to both particle sizes in both adults and neonates. Fluorescence could also be observed in the oil storage droplets, suggesting that both particle sizes have crossed the gut's epithelial barrier. Quantification of fluorescence of both sizes of particles showed that although uptake of the 20-nm particles was lower in terms of mass it was equal to or greater than 1,000-nm particle uptake when expressed as surface area or particle number. Depuration was relatively rapid for the 1,000-nm beads, decreasing by more than 90% over 4 h. In contrast, depuration of the 20-nm beads was less extensive, reaching 40% over 4 h. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed uptake of 1,000-nm beads, but uptake of 20-nm beads was inconclusive since similar-sized inclusions could be observed in control treatments.
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