Ecosafety Assessment Of Cellulose-based Nanosponges Engineered For Marine Environmental Remediation In Sea Urchin Reproduction

Esposito, Maria Consiglia (2022). Ecosafety Assessment Of Cellulose-based Nanosponges Engineered For Marine Environmental Remediation In Sea Urchin Reproduction. PhD thesis The Open University.



A potential solution to marine pollution is the promising strategy of nanoremediation. Cellulose-based Nanosponges (CNS) were developed as eco-friendly and sustainable engineered materials for marine environmental remediation. This research aimed to assess the suitability of standardised bioassays, i.e. the spermiotoxicity and embryotoxicity assays, with the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus in evaluating the safety of CNS. These tests were developed to screen the conventional contaminant toxicity and, thereby, may not be appropriate to evaluate the toxicity of nanomaterials due to their unique properties. Moreover, the eligibility of the sea urchin Arbacia lixula as a possible suitable alternative species in ecotoxicity testing has been investigated. For this species, appropriate bioassays have been developed since, to date, standardised procedures are not available. The obtained ecotoxicity data indicate that the two sea urchin species have a similar CNS sensitivity supporting the use of A. lixula in the ecotoxicity tests and that standardised bioassays with P. lividus are valuable tools for assessing the environmental impact of engineered material. In the framework of the reproductive risk assessment process that is beginning to expand, with new tests and endpoints, the traditional approach, based only on fertility and viable offspring as estimated endpoints, a new bioassay, named ovotoxicity test, has been developed to evaluate the potential CNS effects also on fertilisation competence of female gamete as well as a gamete quality assessment, in which gamete quality parameters underlying fertilisation and developmental competence were assessed as endpoints to screen the CNS impact on gamete quality. Overall, the ecotoxicity data indicate that CNS can affect gamete quality, gamete fertilisation competence, and embryo development due to a release of chemical additives from the manufacturing process. Hence, in the framework of the eco-design approach, these data suggest a re-design of CNS to obtain a safer device.

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