Reduction of Pesticide Toxicity Under Field-Relevant Conditions? The Interaction of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles, Ultraviolet, and Natural Organic Matter


In surface waters, the illumination of photoactive engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) with ultraviolet (UV) light triggers the formation of reactive intermediates, consequently altering the ecotoxicological potential of co-occurring organic micropollutants including pesticides due to catalytic degradation. Simultaneously, omnipresent natural organic matter (NOM) adsorbs onto ENM surfaces, altering the ENM surface properties. Also, NOM absorbs light, reducing the photo(cata)lytic transformation of pesticides. Interactions between these environmental factors impact 1) directly the ecotoxicity of photoactive ENMs, and 2) indirectly the degradation of pesticides. We assessed the impact of field-relevant UV radiation (up to 2.6 W UVA/m²), NOM (4 mg TOC/L), and photoactive ENM (nTiO2, 50 µg/L) on the acute toxicity of 6 pesticides in Daphnia magna. We selected azoxystrobin, dimethoate, malathion, parathion, permethrin, and pirimicarb because of their varying photo- and hydrolytic stabilities. Increasing UVA alone partially reduced pesticide toxicity, seemingly due to enhanced degradation. Even at 50 µg/L, nano-sized titanium dioxide (nTiO2) reduced but also increased pesticide toxicity (depending on the applied pesticide), which is attributable to 1) more efficient degradation and potentially 2) photocatalytically induced formation of toxic by-products. Natural organic matter 1) partially reduced pesticide toxicity, not evidently accompanied by enhanced pesticide degradation, but also 2) inhibited pesticide degradation, effectively increasing the pesticide toxicity. Predicting the ecotoxicological potential of pesticides based on their interaction with UV light or interaction with NOM was hardly possible, which was even more difficult in the presence of nTiO2. Environ Toxicol Chem 2020;39:2237-2246. © 2020 The Authors. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of SETAC.

Authors: Simon Lüderwald, Frederik Meyer, Verena Gerstle, Lisa Friedrichs, Katrin Rolfing, Verena C Schreiner, Nikita Bakanov, Ralf Schulz, Mirco Bundschuh
; Full Source: Environmental toxicology and chemistry 2020 Nov;39(11):2237-2246. doi: 10.1002/etc.4851.