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Methodological study on toxicity of fullerene (C60) in sediment-dwelling invertebrate Chironomus riparius larvae



Greta Waissi-Leinonen, Elijah Petersen, Kukka Tervonen, Jarkko Akkanen, Matti Lepp¿nen, Jussi Kukkonen


Fullerenes (C60) are one of the most common nanoparticles and are already in use for commercial applications which lead inevitably to their release into ecosystems. However, the risks these particles may pose are not well understood, and the applicability of standard ecotoxicology methods for sediment exposures has not been investigated. We here attempt to develop a method to test fullerene toxicity to the benthic organism Chironomus riparius maintaining environmental similitude. More specifically, aqueous suspensions (nC60) were produced by stirring fullerene (C60) powder to artificial freshwater for 2 weeks and then the suspensions were allowed to settle down creating a layer of fullerene (C60) on top of the sediment. Experiments using the food level in accordance with OECD (2004) standard (0.5 % Urtica sp.) and the higher food concentration (0.8% Urtica sp) were performed in a 10-day chronic test using C. riparius with an exposure of fullerene in range 0.35 to 0.55 mg/cm2. End-point parameters included body length, head capsules width and length in addition to wet and dry weight. There was significant difference in the 0.5 % food level treatments in all endpoint parameters reducing the growth in the exposure compared to controls. While the 0.8 % food level treatments showed reduction in the wet weight of the exposed larvae, the head capsule length were increased in exposure treatments. Fullerene agglomerates was observed by electron microscopy in the gut but no absorption into the gut epithelial cells was detected. In the exposure microvilli were significantly shorter in all gut parts and also showed blank areas of the villus layer and some damage on peritrophic membrane. The potential influence of fullerene (C60) to C. riparius appears to be caused by physiological changes, thus inhibiting the larvae growth.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry


Carbon nanoparticle, fullerene, Chironomus riparius, ecotoxicity


Waissi-Leinonen, G. , Petersen, E. , Tervonen, K. , Akkanen, J. , Lepp¿nen, M. and Kukkonen, J. (2012), Methodological study on toxicity of fullerene (C60) in sediment-dwelling invertebrate Chironomus riparius larvae, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, [online], (Accessed June 16, 2024)


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Created May 18, 2012, Updated October 12, 2021