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Sulphur-containing compounds as a response in sea urchins exposed to alkylated silicon nanocrystals and SiO2-coated iron oxide nanoparticles

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Lidija Siller, Sunthon Piticharoenphun, Dr Ben Horrocks



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


We report the effects of exposure to alkylated silicon nanocrystals (‘alkyl-SiNCs’ at concentration ~ 7.2 mg/L) and -Fe2O3 nanoparticles coated with ultra-thin silica (‘SiO2-coated IONPs’ at concentration ~ 150 mg/L) on sea urchins Paracentrotus lividus and Arbacia lixula, respectively, studied with X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopies using excitation from a synchrotron light source. A remarkably low mortality and low incidence of skeletal deformation is observed for exposure to both types of nanoparticles studied, despite the high concentrations employed in this work. XRF mapping demonstrates that both types of nanoparticle are found to agglomerate in the body of the sea urchins. FTIR spectra indicates that alkyl-SiNCs remain intact after ingestion and corresponding XRF maps show increased oxygen throughout the organisms, possibly related to oxidation products arising from reactive oxygen species generated in the presence of the nanoparticles. Exposure to SiO2-coated IONPs is found to produce sulphur-containing species, which may be the result of a biological response in order to reduce the toxicity of the nanomaterial.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Siller L, Piticharoenphun S, Lemloh M-L, Horrocks BR, Kaulich B, Gianonchelli A, Hunt MRC, Brummer F, Medakovic D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Key Engineering Materials

Year: 2016

Volume: 672

Pages: 312-327

Online publication date: 15/01/2016

Acceptance date: 04/06/2015

Date deposited: 04/06/2015

ISSN (print): 1013-9826

ISSN (electronic): 1662-9795

Publisher: TT Publications


DOI: 10.4028/


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