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Short Communication
Impact of inorganic UV lters contained in sunscreen products on tropical
stony corals (Acropora spp.)
Cinzia Corinaldesi
, Francesca Marcellini
, Ettore Nepote
, Elisabetta Damiani
, Roberto Danovaro
Dipartimento di Scienze e Ingegneria della Materia, dell'Ambiente ed Urbanistica, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, Ancona, Italy
Ecoreach Ltd, Corso Stamira 61, 60121 Ancona, Italy
Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell'Ambiente, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, Ancona, Italy
Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Villa Comunale, Naples, Italy
Organic UV-lters and preservatives in
sunscreens can harm coral reefs world-
Among the inorganic UV lters tested in
the Maldives, ZnO caused bleaching of
Acropora spp.
Bleaching induced by ZnO was deter-
mined by its impact on symbiotic algae
and was associated with microbial en-
Eusolex® T2000 and Optisoldid not
cause evident bleaching, resulting in low
environmental impact to Acropora ssp.
The use of eco-compatible lters in sun-
screens is highly recommended to pro-
tect coral reef health in the future.
abstractarticle info
Article history:
Received 19 January 2018
Received in revised form 8 May 2018
Accepted 8 May 2018
Available online xxxx
Editor: Daniel Wunderlin
Most coral reefs worldwide are threatened by natural and anthropogenic impacts. Among them, the release in
seawater of sunscreen products commonly used by tourists to protect their skin against the harmful effects of
UV radiations, can affect tropical corals causing extensive and rapid bleaching. The use of inorganic (mineral) l-
ters, such as zinc and titanium dioxide (ZnO and TiO
) is increasing due to their broad UV protection spectrum
and their limited penetration into the skin. In the present study, we evaluated through laboratory experiments,
the impact on the corals Acroporaspp. of uncoated ZnO nanoparticles and twomodied forms of TiO
T2000 and Optisol), largely utilized in commercial sunscreens together with organiclters. Our results demon-
strate that uncoated ZnO induces a severe and fastcoral bleaching due to the alteration of the symbiosis between
coral and zooxanthellae. ZnO also directly affects symbiotic dinoagellates and stimulates microbial enrichment
in the seawater surrounding the corals. Conversely, Eusolex® T2000 and Optisolcaused minimal alterations in
the symbiotic interactions and did not cause bleaching,resulting more eco-compatible than ZnO. Due to the vul-
nerability of coral reefs to anthropogenic impacts and global change, our ndings underline the need to accu-
rately evaluate the effect of commercial lters on stony corals to minimize or avoid this additional source of
impact to the life and resilience ability of coral reefs.
© 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Coral bleaching
Inorganic lters
Titanium dioxide
Zinc oxide
Science of the Total Environment 637638 (2018) 12791285
Corresponding author.
E-mail address: (C. Corinaldesi).
Equally contributed to this work
0048-9697/© 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Science of the Total Environment
journal homepage:
1. Introduction
Coral reefs are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems
on Earth supporting a huge biodiversity (around 830,000 multi-
cellular species, Fisher et al., 2015), and providing ecosystem goods
and services to half a billion people including food provision, nancial
incomes and protection against natural hazards (Ferrario et al., 2014;
Hughes et al., 2012;Teh et al., 2013). Approximately, 70% of coral
reefs are currently threatened by several natural and anthropogenic im-
pacts including overshing, urban-coastal development, pollution and
tourism (Krieger and Chadwick, 2013;Spalding and Brown, 2015,Tsui
et al., 2017). It has been estimated that every year, millions of tourists
travel to tropical destinations (UNWTO, 2015) enhancing the risk of im-
portant consequences on marine life and ecosystems (Danovaro et al.,
2008;Giglio et al., 2015). In the last decades, production and consump-
tion of sunscreens containing active organic (e.g. cinnamates, camphor
derivatives, benzophenones) and/or inorganic (e.g. TiO
and ZnO) in-
gredients to protect human skin from UV radiation, have increased in
the cosmetic market on a global scale (Osterwalder et al., 2014;
Sánchez-Quiles and Tovar-Sánchez, 2014).
Despite organic lters dominates the market of sunscreen products,
the combined use of inorganic compounds, such as zinc oxide (ZnO) and
titanium dioxide (TiO
), is constantly increasing due to the broad UV
spectrum of protection, and their limited penetration into the skin (Lu
et al., 2015;). However, the potential of these compounds to generate
reactive oxygen species (ROS) and release metal ions into the aquatic
environment has been recently demonstrated, with consequent possi-
ble negative effects on aquatic organisms (Blaise et al., 2008;Haynes
et al., 2017;Hu et al., 2018;Minetto et al., 2017;Wong et al., 2010). At
the same time, investigations on the impact of ZnO and TiO
on marine
life, being mostly focused on microalgae, are still too limited to draw
general conclusions (Hazeem et al., 2016;Miller et al., 2010).
Previous studies have also shown that sunscreen products and
their organic ingredients (e.g., organic UV lterssuchasethylhexyl
methoxycinnamate, benzophenone-3, benzophenone-2and preser-
vatives such as butylparaben) can harm tropical reefs worldwide
contributing to coral bleaching (Danovaro et al., 2008;Downs et al.,
It has also been hypothesised that inorganic lters, such as TiO
ZnO, depending on their specic physical characteristics (i.e. size, crys-
tal form, morphology of particles), can produce different effects on ma-
rine algae (Peng et al., 2011;Sendra et al., 2017).
It is well known that under UV radiation both ZnOand TiO
the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by photocatalytic reac-
tions that lead to important consequences on the health of marine or-
ganisms (Haynes et al., 2017;Ivask et al., 2010;Sánchez-Quiles and
Tovar-Sánchez, 2014). Furthermore, recent studies have conrmed
that ZnO can be toxic to many aquatic organisms (Khosravi-Katuli
et al., 2018;Li et al., 2018;Shin et al., 2018), and dissolved Zn ions
have been implicated as a major mechanism driving the toxicity of
ZnO nanoparticles in aqueous media (Noventa et al., 2017;Wong
et al., 2010).
In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that these lters can
also harm stony corals, possibly through the impact on their symbiotic
microalgae. For this purpose, we evaluated the impact of inorganic UV
lters, largely utilized in commercial sunscreens, on the stony corals of
the genus Acropora of the Maldivian Lhaviyani Atoll (Vavvaru Island).
We conducted eld experiments based on the addition of ZnOnanopar-
ticles and of two forms of TiO
(Eusolex®T2000 and Optisol). The
genus Acropora was selected as it is the dominant stony coral in tropical
coral reefs worldwide, and their symbiotic algae (i.e. Symbiodinium sp.)
can be easily recognised, investigated and cultured. The ndings ob-
tained here can expand our knowledge on the impact of inorganic UV
lters on coral reefs in order to understand the best tools and practices
for minimising the impacts of tourism and recreational activities and
preserving these corals and their ecosystems.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Inorganic UV lters
In the present study, we tested the impact of zinc oxide nanoparti-
cles (SIGMA) characterised by uncoated particles of size ranging from
20 to 200 nm (nanoparticles N50% of the total particles), as observed
by Scanning Electronic Microscopy and two forms of titanium dioxide:
Optisol(Oxonica Ltd. and UK Nanotechnology Company) and
Eusolex®T2000 (Merck KGaA). Eusolex®T2000 is represented by the
crystal form rutilewith particles size of 20 nm and by the surface
coated with alumina and dimethicone. Optisolis another modied
form of titanium dioxide in which a small amount of manganese is in-
corporated into the structural lattice conferring free radical scavenging
power, thus minimising the formation of free radicals (Wakeeld
et al., 2004). These modications (surface coatings and metal doping)
have the scope to reduce the potential reactivity of photo-activated
particles by quenching and/or reducing the reactive species gener-
ated before they can interact with the other ingredients in a formula and
with skin components itself (Tiano et al., 2010).
2.2. Sampling area and experimental design
Coral nubbins (36 cm) belonging to the genus Acropora spp. were
collected from different donor colonies at ca. 5 m water depth in the
front reef area of Vavvaru Island (Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives). Nubbins
were immediately placed in experimental mesocosms located at ca.
50 m from the sampling site and supplied with a continuous seawater
ow (i.e. with intake in the sampling area), which allowed us to keep
the same conditions present in situ. Corals were acclimatised in aquar-
ium for 48 h at in situ conditions of temperature and salinity (28 °C
and 35, respectively). After acclimatisation, thehealthycorals (i.e. with-
out any sign of bleaching or necrotic tissue, and showing open polyps)
were washed in virus-free seawater (ltered onto 0.02 μmmembranes
Anotop syringe-lters; Whatman, Springeld Mill, UK), and immersed
in polyethylene Whirl-pack bags (Nasco, Fort Atkinson, WI, USA) lled
with 2 L of virus-free seawater taken to the sampling area. Replicate
sets of coral nubbins (n= 3, containing N300 polyps each) were
exposed to aliquots of different UV lters (nal concentration
6.3 mg L
of each inorganic UV lter) and compared with untreated
coral nubbins (used as controls). Corals were incubated in aquaria
maintained at in situ conditions (temperature and salinity), with sea-
water in a continuous ow directly from the ocean. This nal concentra-
tion (equivalent to half the maximum concentration of inorganic lters,
permitted in the EU and US, for sunscreen products; i.e. 12%) falls within
the range of values of the same inorganic compounds used in previous
researches (Khosravi-Katuli et al., 2018;Libralato et al., 2013;Mezni
et al., 2018;Sendra et al., 2017;Wang et al., 2016;Yung et al., 2015),
thus allowing us to make proper comparisons.
2.3. Release of zooxanthellae and their health status
Zooxanthellae were analysed from seawater samples collected from
the seawater of the experimental mesocosms in order to quantify
the number ofthe symbiotic organisms released from the coralcolonies.
Ten mL of seawater were collected from treated (added with lters) and
untreated systems immediately after the addition of UV lters (t
start of the experiment) and after 24 h (t
) and 48 h (t
) from the be-
ginning of the experiment. Aliquots of seawater samples were ltered
through 2.0-μm polycarbonate lters and mounted on glass slides.
Zooxanthellae were counted under a Zeiss Axioplan epiuorescence mi-
croscope (Carl ZeissInc., Jena, Germany; ×400 and×1000). Based on the
autouorescence and gross cell structure, we discriminated the
zooxanthellae released from coral colonies as pale (P, pale yellow
colour, vacuolated, partially degraded zooxanthellae) and transparent
(T, lacking pigmentations, empty zooxanthellae) from healthy
1280 C. Corinaldesi et al. / Science of the Total Environment 637638 (2018) 12791285
zooxanthellae (H, brown/bright yellow colour, intact zooxanthellae;
Danovaro et al., 2008;Mise and Hidaka, 2003). The abundance of the
damaged zooxanthellae released was obtained from the sum of the
total number of zooxanthellae classied as pale and transparent, that
were detected in the seawater surrounding coral nubbins exposed to
the different inorganic UV lters.
2.4. Bleaching quantication
According to Siebeck et al. (2006), we performed a colorimetric
analysis of digital photographs of corals taken at the beginning of the
experiments and after 48 h of treatment with UV-lters (specied
above). Photographs were taken under identical illumination with a
Canon EOS 400D digital camera (Canon Inc., Tokyo, Japan) with a scale
meter on the background. The photographs were subsequently
analysed with a photo-editing software for colour composition cyan,
magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). Levels of bleaching were measured
as the difference between the coral's colour at the beginning of the ex-
periments (t
) and after 48 h of exposure (t
). Thirty random measure-
ments of variables CMYK were carried out across the coral area.
Variations in the percentage of the different colour components
(CMYK) were analysed with one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA).
To rank the bleaching effect due to the different sunscreens tested, we
obtained BrayCurtis similarity matrix and multidimensional scaling
analysis of the shifts in CMYK colour composition of treated corals
using Primer 5.0 software (Primer-E Ltd., Plymouth, UK). Bleaching
rates were measured as the variation percentage in CMYK colour com-
position between treated and control corals using Primer 5.0 software
(Primer-E Ltd). In addition, to the mean values obtained we attributed
scores of thebleaching degree by means of a mathematical function, ac-
cording to a scaleorganized in ranks (0 to N60), i.e. from no visible coral
bleaching(010) to total bleachingof 100% of coral nubbinssurface
2.5. Prokaryotic and viral abundance
Prokaryotic and viral abundance in seawater samples was deter-
mined according to the protocol described by Noble and Fuhrman
(1998). Sub-samples (10 mL) from treated (added with lters) and un-
treated systems were collected immediately after the addition of sun-
screen (t
= start of the experiment) and after 24 h (t
) and 48 h
) from the beginning of the experiment. After collection, three repli-
cate seawater samples were stored at 20 °C until the analysis. Sub-
samples were ltered onto 0.02 μm poresize lter (Whatmann Anodisc;
diameter, 25 mm; Al
) and stained with 100 μLofSYBRGold(stock
solution diluted 1:5000). The lters were incubated in the dark for
20 min, washed three times with 3 mL of preltered Milli-Q water
and mounted onto glass slides with 20 μL of 50% phosphate buffer
(6.7 mM phosphate, pH 7.8) and 50% glycerol (containing 0.5% ascorbic
acid). Slides were stored at 20 °C. Prokaryotes and viruses' counts
were obtained by epiuorescence microscopy (Zeiss Axioskop 2). For
each slide, at least 20 microscope elds were observed and at least
200 prokaryotes and viruses were counted per lter.
2.6. Statistical analysis
Differences in the investigated variables betweencontrols and treat-
ments were assessed using permutational analyses of variance
(PERMANOVA; Anderson, 2005;McArdle and Anderson, 2001)on
square root transformed data. The design included two xed factors
(time and treatment). When signicant differences were encountered
(pb0.05) post-hoc pairwise tests were also carried out. Statistical anal-
yses were performed using PRIMER 6 (Clarke and Gorley, 2006).
3. Results and discussion
The inorganic UV lters tested here, ZnO and TiO
(especially in the
rutile form) nanoparticles are commonly used in sunscreen products for
their UVA (320400 nm) and UVB (290320 nm) coverage and to in-
crease the transparency of cosmetics applied on the skin (Smijs and
Pavel, 2011).
The analyses conducted in this study reveal that ZnO caused the
strongest negative effects in terms of number of zooxanthellae released
from the stony corals investigated (pb0.001, Fig. 1A). In particular, the
release of zooxanthellae after ZnO addition was signicantly higher
than in the control and in the corals treated with both TiO
(EusolexT2000 and Optisol) with thestrongest effect after 48 h of expo-
sure (i.e., zooxanthellae release up to two orders of magnitude higher
than in the control and other treatments; Fig. 1A; Table S1). In addition,
ZnO determined the release of the highest fraction of damaged zooxan-
thellae (up to one order of magnitude higher than the other treatments
tested), suggesting that these nanoparticles can strongly affect hard
corals impairing their symbiotic microalgae.
Previous eco-toxicological studies documented the negative effects
of ZnO nanoparticles on marine organisms including algae, crustaceans
and sh (Peng et al., 2011;Wong et al., 2010). Here, we expand the ev-
idence on the negative effect of ZnO nanoparticles, revealing their im-
pact also on tropical corals and their symbiosis with microalgae.
The addition of both Eusolex T2000 and Optisol also caused an in-
crease in the release of zooxanthellae in the seawater surrounding
coral nubbins when compared to the control (Fig. 1A; Table S1). How-
ever, whereas Eusolex T2000 showed effects in the short term (t
pb0.01), Optisol acted only after 2448 h of exposure (pb0.01).
Fig. 1. Impact of the inorganic lters on symbiotic microalgae of Acropora spp. To tal
abundance of zooxanthellae (A) and damaged zooxanthellae (B) relea sed into the
seawater surrounding coral nubbins exposed to 6.3 mgL
of zinc oxide and titanium
dioxide (Eusolex T2000 and Optisol) during th e time-course experiment. Results are
reported as mean values ± S.D.
1281C. Corinaldesi et al. / Science of the Total Environment 637638 (2018) 12791285
PERMANOVA analyses conrmed the signicant differences in the re-
sponses of Acropora exposed to the two types of TiO
as a result of the
treatment × time interaction (pb0.01).
In the zooxanthellae released from corals, we observed a loss of
photosynthetic pigments already 24 h after exposure to ZnO (Fig. 1B).
The abundance of damaged zooxanthellae, indeed, increased over
time reaching values up to two orders of magnitude higher than in the
controls and in the other treatments (pb0.001). The amount of
damaged zooxanthellae released by corals treated with Eusolex T2000
increased signicantly already after 24 h of exposure compared to the
control (pb0.05) whereas the effect of Optisol was more evident after
48 h of exposure (pb0.001).
Previous studies revealed that inorganic TiO
nanoparticles are the
major-oxidizing agents in coastal waters, producing very high rates of
in seawater and directly affecting the growth of phytoplankton
(Tovar-Sánchez et al., 2013). Our ndings indicate that Optisol (TiO
modied with manganese) has a non-immediate impact on corals and
symbiontmicroalgae, potentially due to its surface or structural modi-
cations (manganese doping), which minimises the reactivity of photo-
activated particles rendering them initially inert in water (Botta et al.,
2011). On the contrary, Eusolex T2000 (TiO
lter coated with alumina
and dimethicone) has an immediate effect on corals and symbiont
microalgae. The different response time of corals to the two inorganic
lters (immediate for Eusolex and delayed for Optisol) might be associ-
ated with the diverse characteristics of the TiO
lters, which once re-
leased in seawater could have a different behaviour and/or action
mechanism (Tsui et al., 2017). Since Optisol determined a delayed ef-
fecton the symbiotic interaction between corals and zooxanthellae,
we cannot exclude a long-term effect on the corals due to chronic expo-
sure (Tsui et al., 2017).
The loss of zooxanthellae induced by ZnO resulted in a fast coral
bleaching, which was evident after 24 h of exposure (Fig. 2), and at
the end of the experiment bleaching dominated for 67% of the corals'
surface (Fig. 3; Table S2). Conversely, after addition of the two different
types of TiO
no visible bleaching was observed in the corals (Fig. 2),
which, indeed, showed only a slight colour loss in 67% of their surface
similarly to the control (3%, Fig. 3;TableS2).
Fig. 3. Bleaching degree in Acropora spp. exposed to the different inorganic UV lters.
Percentage of bleaching in the corals exposed to 6.3 mgL
1 of zinc oxide and titanium
dioxide (Eusolex T2000 and Optisol) and scale of bleaching severity.
Fig. 2. Bleaching of Acropora spp. nubbins caused by the inorganic lters. Photographs of
the corals in the control (unexposed corals to inorganic lters; A and B) and exposed to
zinc oxide (C and D), Eu solex T2000 (E and F) and Optisol (G and H) at the sta rt (t
and at the end (after 48 h) of the experiment.
1282 C. Corinaldesi et al. / Science of the Total Environment 637638 (2018) 12791285
The lower impact of TiO
on the corals when compared to ZnO
was evident also in terms of microbial enrichment in the seawater
surrounding the nubbins of Acropora. Previous studies demonstrated
that tropical corals subjected to environmental stress regulate the
abundance of their associated microbes, essential to coral immunity
and health (Krediet et al., 2013), by increasing the amount of bacteria
and viruses released directly in seawater and/or through mucus
(Garren and Azam, 2012;Nguyen-Kim et al., 2015). In addition, previ-
ous investigations reported that sunscreen products and theirUV lters
increase virus proliferation in seawater like in the same way as other
environmental stressors (Danovaro and Corinaldesi, 2003;Danovaro
et al., 2008;Davy et al., 2006). Here, we observed that in systems treated
with ZnO a strong enrichment of both prokaryotes and viruses (42.05 ±
3.88 × 10
cells L
and 44.83 ± 0.87 × 10
viruses L
Fig. 4A and B; Table S3) was observed after 48 h of incubation
compared to the control (14.40 ± 0.32 × 10
cells L
and 16.62 ±
1.07 × 10
viruses L
). Conversely, the two types of TiO
did not
determine any signicant increase in microbial abundance over time
(on overage, 5.44 ± 0.18 × 10
cell L
and 6.50± 0.23 × 10
viruses L
in the treatment with Eusolex T2000 and 6.87 ± 0.11 × 10
cell L
9.53 ± 0.22 ×10
viruses L
in the treatment with Optisol, Fig. 4Aand
B; Table S3). Indeed, TiO
particles have been reported to have antimi-
crobial activity due to the generation of free radicals by photoexcitation
or adsorption of the bacterial cells onto TiO
particles (Dhanasekar et al.,
2018;Gogniat et al., 2006). However, the specic effect of TiO
on pro-
karyotic cells has not yet been dened. Previous studies suggested that
the phototoxicity of nanoTiO
on bacteria is not determined by a single
factor but by multiple factors that also include the inorganic material
morphology (Tong et al., 2013).
Concluding, our ndings indicate that uncoated ZnO nanoparticles
induce a complete, and potentially irreversible coral bleaching causing
asignicant rapid and widespread mortality of the symbiotic zooxan-
thellae of the stony corals, and stimulating microbial enrichment in
the seawater surrounding the corals. Supposedly, this result may be
due to the alteration of the cellular membrane lipid composition of
hard corals and their symbiotic organisms (Tang et al., 2017). In addi-
tion, previous investigations reported that dissolved Zn
can cause tox-
icity in algae (Franklin et al., 2007;Lee and An, 2013;Shin et al., 2018)
determining manganese deciency (Miller et al., 2010), mitochondrial
and DNA damage (Sharma et al., 2012), oxidative stress (Xia et al.,
2008;Li et al., 2012) and cell membrane damage (Song et al., 2010).
Other studies highlighted that the cell membrane damage can result
in membrane deformation and morphological changes of cells and
even organelles (Peng et al., 2011;Tang et al., 2017;Trevisan et al.,
2014;Xiong et al., 2011).
Market trends of sunscreen products indicate that ZnO lter utiliza-
tion will overtake nano titanium dioxide (nTiO
) in the near future, es-
pecially after the approval of ZnO for cosmetic purposes in the EU since
April 2016 (
CELEX%3A32016R0621). Indeed, ZnO offers high skin protection due
to its greater broad-spectrum UV coverage and reduced opaqueness
thanks to improved formulation technologies (Lademann et al., 2006;
Smijs and Pavel, 2011). The use of ZnO in cosmetic and sunscreen prod-
ucts has been hypothesised to be a safer alternative to conventional
organic-based lters due to several issues related to photoinstability,
skin irritability and endocrine disrupting ability (Biebl et al., 2006;
Hojerová et al., 2011;Krause et al., 2012). However, the results reported
here demonstrate that theuse of ZnO is extremely harmful to the organ-
isms tested, thus suggesting that its use in sunscreen and personal care
products should be further assessed in future investigations because it
might have important consequences on marine environment. Since
the negative impact of ZnO will also be present when it is used in com-
bination with TiO
, the concern about these compounds should be also
extended to sunscreen products using a combination of both inorganic
lters. Although the use of coated/modied TiO
in sunscreens is not
completely exempt of potential negative effects (Tanvir et al., 2015),
the results of the present study indicate that when used alone (i.e., as
a single ingredient)it can have a limited impact on tropical stony corals.
Accordingly, a similar study conducted on the Montastraea faveolata in
the Caribbean Sea shows that TiO
caused signicant zooxanthellae ex-
pulsion in all the colonies, without mortality, suggesting a possible coral
acclimation and recovery from stress (Jovanovićand Guzmán, 2014).
However, further investigation is needed to clarify if its use is fully
eco-compatible with marine life while protecting human skin from UV
damage or if it may be harmful if used under specic conditions or in
combination with other products.
This study was conducted within the frame of the projects MERCES
(Marine Ecosystem Restoration in Changing European Seas), funded by
the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program
(grant agreement no. 689518), and national funds ATENEO 2013
obtained by R. Danovaro and ATENEO 2013-2016 obtained by C.
Corinaldesi provided by MIUR (Italian Ministry of University and
Conict of interest
The authors declare no competing nancial interests.
Fig. 4. Microbial enrichment in the seawatersurrounding coralsinduced by inorganic lters. Prokaryotic (A)and viral (B) abundancesin seawater surrounding coralsexposed to 6.3 mgL
of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (Eusolex T2000 and Optisol) overtime. Results are reported as mean values ± S.D.
1283C. Corinaldesi et al. / Science of the Total Environment 637638 (2018) 12791285
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... Kuntz et al., 2005;Shafir, Van Rijn & Rinkevich, 2007;Shafir, Halperin & Rinkevich, 2014;Chen et al., 2012;Vijayavel & Richmond, 2012;Svanfeldt et al., 2014;Corinaldesi et al., 2018;He et al., 2019;Aminot et al., 2020;Mitchelmore et al., 2021;Xiao et al., 2021). In addition, toxicity tests conducted on fieldcollected coral material, including planulae, gametes, and fragments, have provided important results (reviewed in Biological Reviews (2023) 000-000 © 2023 Cambridge Philosophical Society. ...
Aquatic invertebrates play a pivotal role in (eco)toxicological assessments because they offer ethical, cost-effective and repeatable testing options. Additionally, their significance in the food chain and their ability to represent diverse aquatic ecosystems make them valuable subjects for (eco)toxicological studies. To ensure consistency and comparability across studies, international (eco)toxicology guidelines have been used to establish standardised methods and protocols for data collection, analysis and interpretation. However, the current standardised protocols primarily focus on a limited number of aquatic invertebrate species, mainly from Arthropoda, Mollusca and Annelida. These protocols are suitable for basic toxicity screening, effectively assessing the immediate and severe effects of toxic substances on organisms. For more comprehensive and ecologically relevant assessments, particularly those addressing long-term effects and ecosystem-wide impacts, we recommended the use of a broader diversity of species, since the present choice of taxa exacerbates the limited scope of basic ecotoxicological studies. This review provides a comprehensive overview of (eco)toxicological studies, focusing on major aquatic invertebrate taxa and how they are used to assess the impact of chemicals in diverse aquatic environments. The present work supports the use of a broad-taxa approach in basic environmental assessments, as it better represents the natural populations inhabiting various ecosystems. Advances in omics and other biochemical and computational techniques make the broad-taxa approach more feasible, enabling mechanistic studies on non-model organisms. By combining these approaches with in vitro techniques together with the broad-taxa approach, researchers can gain insights into less-explored impacts of pollution, such as changes in population diversity, the development of tolerance and transgenerational inheritance of pollution responses, the impact on organism phenotypic plasticity, biological invasion outcomes, social behaviour changes, metabolome changes, regeneration phenomena, disease susceptibility and tissue pathologies. This review also emphasises the need for harmonised data-reporting standards and minimum annotation checklists to ensure that research results are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR), maximising the use and reusability of data. The ultimate goal is to encourage integrated and holistic problem-focused collaboration between diverse scientific disciplines, international standardisation organisations and decision-making bodies, with a focus on transdisciplinary knowledge co-production for the One-Health approach.
... Kuntz et al., 2005;Shafir, Van Rijn & Rinkevich, 2007;Shafir, Halperin & Rinkevich, 2014;Chen et al., 2012;Vijayavel & Richmond, 2012;Svanfeldt et al., 2014;Corinaldesi et al., 2018;He et al., 2019;Aminot et al., 2020;Mitchelmore et al., 2021;Xiao et al., 2021). In addition, toxicity tests conducted on fieldcollected coral material, including planulae, gametes, and fragments, have provided important results (reviewed in Biological Reviews (2023) 000-000 © 2023 Cambridge Philosophical Society. ...
... Interestingly, these effects were mitigated when the study was performed with ZnO particles in the sediment of the cultured zebrafish embryos [7,41,42] . ZnO was found to be detrimental to other living creatures, including roaches, algae, daphnia, earthworms, and other fish embryos [43][44][45] . In laboratory settings, ZnO nanoparticles caused severe and rapid bleaching of Acropora spp. of coral, the effects of nanoparticles on vegetation have been studied. ...
... Several studies have found chemical UV-filters (organic) to be harmful to corals and mussels, as well as algae, brine shrimp, crustaceans, dolphins, and fish. One of the most significant negative effects of organic UV filters was growth inhibition [11,26,27,[30][31][32]. ...
... damicornis was also significantly modified after exposure to avobenzone (1000 µg/L for 7 days), octisalate (5-1000 µg/L for 7 days) and octocrylene (50-1000 µg/L for 7 days) but not after exposure to bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, diethylhexyl butamido triazone, diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate, ethylhexyl triazone, homosalate, and methylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramethylbutylphenol (1000 µg/L for 7 days) [108,109]. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles Eusolex T2000 and Optisol significantly increased the number of damaged algal symbionts released by Acropora corals, as well as zinc oxide nanoparticles (6.3 mg/L for 48 h) [110]. Zinc oxide nanoparticles also modified the membrane lipid profile of Seriatopora caliendrum corals (50-200 µg/L for 24 h) [111]. ...
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Background Tropical coral reefs cover only ca. 0.1% of the Earth’s surface but harbour exceptional marine biodiversity and provide vital ecosystem services to millions of people living nearby. They are currently threatened by global (e.g. climate change) and local (e.g. chemical pollution) stressors that interact in multiple ways. While global stressors cannot be mitigated by local actions alone, local stressors can be reduced through ecosystem management. Here, we aimed to systematically review experimental studies assessing the toxicity of chemical pollutants to tropical reef-building corals to generate accessible and usable knowledge and data that can be used to calculate measurement endpoints in ecological risk assessment. From the quantitative estimates of effects, we determined toxicity thresholds as the highest exposures tested at which no statistically significant adverse effects were observed, and we compared them to regulatory predicted no effect concentrations for the protection of marine organisms, to assess whether these reference values are indeed protective of corals. Methods The evidence was taken from a systematic map of the impacts of chemicals arising from human activity on tropical reef-building corals published in 2021. All studies in the map database corresponding to the knowledge cluster “Evidence on the ecotoxicological effects of chemicals on corals” were selected. To identify subsequently published literature, the search was updated using a subset of the search string used for the systematic map. Titles, abstracts and full-texts were screened according to the criteria defining the selected cluster of the map. Because the eligibility criteria for the systematic review are narrower than the criteria used to define the cluster in the systematic map, additional screening was performed. Studies included were critically appraised and each study was rated as low, unclear, medium, or high risk of bias. Data were extracted from the studies and synthesised according to a strategy dependent on the type of exposure and outcome. Review findings The systematic review reports the known effects of chemical exposures on corals from 847 studies corresponding to 181 articles. A total of 697 studies (161 articles) were included in the quantitative synthesis and 150 studies (50 articles) in the narrative synthesis of the findings. The quantitative synthesis records the effects of 2706 exposure concentrations-durations of 164 chemicals or mixtures of chemicals, and identifies 105 toxicity thresholds corresponding to 56 chemicals or mixtures of chemicals. When toxicity thresholds were compared to reference values set for the protection of marine organisms by environmental agencies, the reference values appear to be protective of corals for all but three chemicals assessed: the metal copper and the pesticides diuron and irgarol 1051. Conclusions This open-access database of known ecotoxicological effects of chemical exposures on corals can assist managers in the ecological risk assessment of chemicals, by allowing easy determination of various ecotoxicological thresholds. Several limitations of the toxicity tests synthesised here were noted (in particular the lack of measurement of effective concentrations for more than half of the studies). Overall, most of the currently available data on coral toxicity should be replicated independently and extended to corals from less studied geographical regions and functional groups.
... Moreover, since increasing concentrations of TiO 2 and ZnO NPs derived from sunscreens in the environment have been detected, attention towards potential drawbacks for both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem is increasing (Labille et al., 2020) (Gondikas et al., 2018) (Gomes et al., 2021). A number of studies showed the negative effects of ZnO and TiO 2 NPs used in sunscreen on stony corals in reefs across the world, with coral bleaching being significantly greater after ZnO NPs exposure compared with TiO 2 NPs, calling for further investigation of the potential harms of these NPs on marine ecosystems (Corinaldesi et al., 2018). ...
The use of sustainable and natural materials is an ever-increasing trend in cosmetic. Natural calcium phosphate (CaP-N) from food by-products and especially from fisheries (i.e., bones), has been suggested as a sustainable option to chemicals commonly used in cosmetic products, in particular to UV-filters in sunscreens. However, the environmental benefits and impacts of its production and use are still uncertain as they have never been quantified. In this paper, we report on toxicological characterization of CaP-N produced from incineration of fish meal in a pilot scale plant. Furthermore, we quantified the environmental burdens linked to the partial substitution of UV-filters by CaP-N through the life cycle assessment (LCA) comparing CaP-N with zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) as alternative option. CaP-N consists in a biphasic mixture 53:47 of hydroxyapatite:β-tricalcium phosphate, and is made of round particles with a diameter in the range of a few microns. Toxicity tests on 4 aquatic species (Dunaliella tertiolecta, Tigriopus fulvus, Corophium insidiosum and Gammarus aequicauda) revealed that CaP-N does not produce any adverse effect, all the species showing EC/LC50 values higher than 100 mg L⁻¹. Moreover, during the 96 h acute toxicity test on C. insidiosum, which is a tube-building species, the specimens built their tubes with the available CaP-N, further attesting the non-toxicity of the material. The LCA study showed that the environmental performance of CaP-N is better than that of ZnO NPs for 11 out of 16 impact categories analysed in this study, especially for the categories Ecotoxicity and Eutrophication of freshwaters (an order of magnitude lower), and with the exception of fossil resources for which CaP-N has a significantly higher impact than ZnO NPs (+140 %). Concluding, our study demonstrates that the replacement of ZnO NPs with CaP-N thermally extracted from fish bones in cosmetic products can increase their safety and sustainability.
... TiO 2 has been shown to damage symbiotic dino agellates and induce bleaching in Acropora spp. corals 22 and Montastraea faveolata 23 , and also to increase mortality, abnormal movements and abnormal feeding behaviors in clown sh 24 , and reduce marine phytoplankton growth 25 . ...
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The application of established cell viability assays such as the commonly used trypan blue staining method to coral cells is not straightforward due to different culture parameters and different cellular features specific to mammalian cells compared to marine invertebrates. Using Pocillopora damicornis as a model, we characterized the autofluorescence and tested different fluorescent dye pair combinations to identify alternative viability indicators. The cytotoxicity of different representative molecules, namely small organic molecule, protein and nanoparticles (NP), was measured after 24 hours of exposure using the fluorescent dye pair Hoechst 33342 and SYTOX® orange. Our results show that this dye pair can be distinctly measured in the presence of fluorescent proteins plus chlorophyll. P. damicornis cells exposed for 24 hours to Triton-X100, insulin or titanium dioxide (TiO2) NPs, respectively, at concentrations ranging from 0.5-100 µg/mL, revealed a LC50 of 0.5 µg/mL for Triton-X100, 20 µg/mL for TiO2 NPs and an average 20% reduction in viability at 100 µg/mL for insulin. The workflow presented here provides a general framework for customizing dye pairs for cell viability assays considering the species- and genotype-specific autofluorescence of scleractinian corals.
Sunscreens are an important means of protection against sunburns, dyspigmentation, photoaging, and photocarcinogenesis. Sunscreens come in a variety of formulations that can protect against ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, both UVB and ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation (broad-spectrum sunscreens), and UVB, UVA, and visible light (tinted broad-spectrum sunscreens). In the USA, there is currently a paucity of FDA-approved broad-spectrum filters on the market. Studies have identified the presence of multiple UV filters in water sources globally. Many laboratory studies have implicated the potential impact of UV filters on coral reef bleaching, the food chain, and human health. However, many of these studies are performed at concentrations that are much higher than those present in the natural environment. With increasing discussion surrounding the role of organic and inorganic UV filters as potential environmental pollutants over the past decade, approval of additional broad-spectrum filters would be an important means of alleviating the use of more controversial filters. The aim of this article is to review the effects of UV filters on health and the environment and explore potential adjunctive agents for photoprotection.Graphical abstract
Coral reefs are one of the most diverse, productive ecosystems in the world, and light plays crucial role in its survival. Notably, the effects of light conditions on soft coral and its adaptive mechanism were unclear. Thus, the present study aimed to investigate and evaluate the effects of different light intensities (30, 80 and 130 μmol m-2 s-1) and photoperiods (18D:6L, 12D:12L and 6D:18L) on cultivation of soft coral Sarcophyton trocheliophorum. During two 50-day of the experiments, we monitored the zooxanthellae density, Chl a content, enzyme activities (SOD, CAT and GST) and microbial diversity of S. trocheliophorum. Our study's outcomes found that, at the end of the experiment, the 80 μmol m-2 s-1 light intensity group and 12D:12L photoperiod group both possessed the highest zooxanthellae density (2.54 × 108 ± 0.14 × 108 cells g-1 DW and 2.40 × 108 ± 0.07 × 108 cells g-1 DW, respectively), Chl a content (295.01 ± 14.13 μg g-1 DW and 287.78 ± 16.13 μg g-1 DW, respectively) and microbial diversity and relatively stable enzyme activities level. Besides, we speculated that the reason for the decline of zooxanthellae density, Chl a content and microbial diversity under other light conditions might be that it induced light stress and caused oxidative damage. The main bacterial composition of S. trocheliophorum in different light conditions was similar at the phylum level, showing the stability of microbial community structure. Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes were dominant under all light conditions, so we hypothesized that these bacteria phylum play a crucial role in coral growth and survival. In conclusion, compared with the other treatments, 80 μmol m-2 s-1 light intensity and 12D:12L photoperiod were more beneficial to the growth performance of S. trocheliophorum and could be recommended for its cultivation condition. Our study could provide helpful information for sustainable management plans for the cultivation and conservation of soft corals, which was especially important to the protection and restoration of degraded coral reefs.
Sunscreens containing broad‐spectrum ultraviolet (UV) filters play an essential role in protecting the skin against the damage induced by sun overexposure. However, the widespread use of sunscreens and other personal care products containing these filters has led to these compounds being widely detected in the environment and being identified as emerging pollutants in marine waters. Concerns raised by laboratory studies investigating the potential impact of UV filters on coral communities have already led to bans on the use of some sunscreens in a few tourist hotspots. Although UV filter pollution may be just one of the many environmental factors impacting coral health worldwide, the media attention surrounding these studies and the legislative changes may lead patients to question dermatologists about the environmental safety of some sunscreen products. This review provides an overview of current knowledge on the impact of UV filters on marine ecosystems, concentrating on recent studies examining the effects of commonly used filters on organisms at low trophic levels and of how alternative approaches, such as metabolomics, can be used to further assess UV filter ecotoxicity. Current gaps in our knowledge are also discussed, most notably the need to increase our understanding of the longer‐term fate and behaviour of UV filters in the marine environment, develop more adapted standardized ecotoxicity tests for a wider range of marine species, and evaluate the impact of UV filters on the marine food web. We then discuss future perspectives for the development of new, more environmentally friendly, filters that may enable the use of the most toxic compounds to be reduced without compromising the effectiveness of sunscreen formulations. Finally, we consider how dermatologists play a key role in educating patients on the need for a balanced approach to sun exposure, sun protection, and conservation of the marine environment.
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Little information is available on the potential ecotoxicity of nanomaterials in the marine environment. In particular, the aquatic ecotoxicity impact of titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been rarely reported. To carefully address this issue, we report on the synthesis of TiO2 NPs using solvothermal process. The structure and morphology of the prepared TiO2 nanoparticles were characterised using different techniques. To study the potential ecotoxicity effect of TiO2, antioxidant system of mediterranean bivalves (Mytilus galloprovincialis) was used, measuring three oxidative biomarkers (ROS production, SOD activity and GSH/GSSG level). No considerable effect was found in the digestive glands of any of the groups treated with TiO2 with concentration gradients ranging from 1 to 100 mg/L. Thus, the level of the superoxide anion, the activity of an antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) and the GSH/GSSG ratio showed no significantly differences in digestive glands of all treated groups compared to the control. However, slight modifications were observed in the gills at high concentrations. These results demonstrated that TiO2 appears to exert little toxicity on marine mussels after a short-term exposure at high concentration. However, before considering the use of this nanomaterial in various applications, further complementary studies are required in order to ensure the environmental safety of these NPs.
Full-text available
TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) could adversely impact aquatic ecosystems. However, the aggregation of these NPs could attenuate this effect. In this work, the biological effects of TiO2 NPs on a marine microalgae Isochrysis galbana were investigated. The aggregation kinetics of TiO2 NPs under different conditions was also investigated to determine and understand these effects. Results showed that, though TiO2 NPs had no obvious impact on the size and reproducibility of algal cells under testing conditions, they caused a negative effect on algal chlorophyll, which led to a reduction in photosynthesis. Furthermore, fast aggregation of TiO2 NPs occurred under all conditions, especially at the pH close to the pHzpc. Increasing ionic strength and NP concentration also enhanced the aggregation rate. The aggregation and the following sedimentation of TiO2 NPs reduced their adverse effects on I. galbana.
The toxicity of nano-materials has received increasing attention in recent years. Nevertheless, relatively few studies have focused on their oceanic distributions and toxicities. In this study, we assessed nano-ZnO toxicity in marine organisms using the yellowstriped goby (Mugilogobius chulae). The relative differences in nano-ZnO dissolution and dispersal in seawater and fresh water were also investigated. The effects of nano-ZnO on embryonic development, deformity, hatching, mortality, and histopathology were analyzed. In addition, the effects of the Zn2 + concentration on M. chulae hatching and mortality were compared. The results showed that nano-ZnO had higher solubility in seawater than in fresh water. Nano-ZnO significantly inhibited hatching. By the fifth day of exposure, the LC50 of nano-ZnO was 45.40 mg/L, and the mortality rate spiked. Hatching inhibition and lethality were dose-dependent over a range of 1–25 mg/L nano-ZnO. Zn2 + inhibited hatching and increased lethality, but its effects were weaker than those of nano-ZnO at the same concentrations. Nano-ZnO also induced spinal bending, oedema, hypoplasia, and other deformities in M. chulae embryos and larvae. Histopathology revealed vacuolar degeneration, hepatocyte and enterocyte enlargement, and morphological abnormalities of the vertebrae. Therefore, nano-ZnO caused malformations in M. chulae by affecting embryonic growth and development. We conclude that nano-ZnO toxicity in seawater was significantly positively correlated with the associated Zn2 + concentration and sedimentary behaviour. The toxicity of nano-ZnO was cumulative and showed a critical point, beyond which embryonic and developmental toxicity in marine fish was observed.
Most studies investigating the toxicity of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) focused on the effect of size, whereas exposure concentration and duration remained poorly understood. In this study, the effect of acute and sub-acute exposures of ZnO NPs on Zn compartmentalization and biomarkers' expression were investigated in Rutilus rutilus caspicus (Caspian roach) considering various exposure scenarios: i) the assessment of the concentration-response curves and median lethal concentration (LC50); ii) the assessment of the effects of organisms exposed at LC50 value and one tenth of LC50 value of ZnO NPs suspensions for 4 d and 28 d, respectively; iii) the assessment of 14 d depuration period. The same concentrations of ZnSO4 were investigated. The highest Zn accumulation was detected in gill after sub-acute exposure (4.8 mg/L; 28 d) followed by liver, kidney and muscle. In gill, liver and muscle, Zn from Zn NPs accumulated higher concentrations. Depuration (14 d) decreased Zn content in each organ, but no complete removal occurred except for muscle. Biomarkers' activity was significantly over expressed after treatments, but depuration brought back their values to background levels and most effects were related to acute concentrations (48 mg/L; 4 d) and in presence of ZnSO4. Histopathological analyses showed that the exposure to ZnO NPs increased lesions in gill, liver and kidney, with a direct proportionality between alterations and Zn accumulated in the target organs. After depuration, lesions regressed for both ZnO NPs and ZnSO4, but not in a complete way. These data could contribute to increase the knowledge about ZnO NPs risk assessment in aquatic vertebrates, suggesting that the size of ZnO NPs can influence biomarker and histopathological effects.
Dissolution and bandgap paradigms have been proposed for predicting the ability of metal oxide nanoparticles (NPs) to induce oxidative stress in different in vitro and in vivo models. Here, we addressed the effectiveness of these paradigms in vivo and under conditions typical of the marine environment, a final sink for many NPs released through aquatic systems. We used ZnO and MnO2 NPs as models for dissolution and bandgap paradigms, respectively, and CeO2 NPs to assess reactive oxygen radical (ROS) production via Fenton-like reactions in vivo. Oyster embryos were exposed to 0.5–500 μM of each test NP over 24 h and oxidative stress was determined as a primary toxicity pathway across successive levels of biological complexity, with arrested development as the main pathological outcome. NPs were actively ingested by oyster larvae and entered cells. Dissolution was a viable paradigm for predicting the toxicity of NPs in the marine environment, whereas the surface reactivity based paradigms (i.e. bandgap and ROS generation via Fenton-like reaction) were not supported under seawater conditions. Bio-imaging identified potential cellular storage-disposal sites of solid particles that could ameliorate the toxicological behavior of non-dissolving NPs, whilst abiotic screening of surface reactivity suggested that the adsorption-complexation of surface active sites by seawater ions could provide a valuable hypothesis to explain the quenching of the intrinsic oxidation potential of MnO2 NPs in seawater.
Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) are being widely investigated in a bioassay due to potential negative effects to biological receptor. The dissolution of metal nanoparticles such as ZnO NPs is crucial to interpret nanotoxicity results because ZnO NPs can release toxic-free ions in exposure media. In the present study, dissolution of ZnO NPs was evaluated in three selected synthetic media for aquatic toxicological testing: Elendt M4 daphnia medium, OECD algal medium, and fish embryo rearing solution. Both media are currently recommended for OECD testing for daphnia and algae. Time-dependent dissolution of ZnO NPs has been investigated in terms of sonication time to be used for the preparation of aqueous NPs suspension, and dissolution time corresponding to exposure period in toxicity testing. Since sonication is widely applied for NPs dispersion in the most of nanotoxicological testing, the emphasis of this study was on the dissolution of NPs as a function of sonication time. We also investigated the concentration-dependent dissolution of ZnO NPs. Our results demonstrated that dissolution of ZnO NPs was significantly affected by sonication and dissolution time, as well as NPs concentration. This study showed that parameters affecting dissolution of ZnO NPs should be considered in nanotoxicological testing.
Copper doped TiO2 nanoparticles with reduced graphene oxide as a solid support were introduced as new ambient light antimicrobial agents. The doping with copper extended the activity to the visible light and the reduced graphene oxide helped to enhance charge transport during photocatalytic degradation of microorganisms. The antimicrobial activity of the bare as well as the modified TiO2 particles was tested with four different microorganisms, namely two Gram positive and two Gram negative types. Zone of inhibition and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) tests were carried out under visible light conditions. The results suggest that Cu2O-TiO2/rGO exhibits better visible light antibacterial property with higher zone of inhibition area and lower value of minimum inhibitory concentration for both Gram positive and Gram negative microorganisms compared to the bare TiO2. Polymer nanocomposite films were prepared using these nanoparticles with PVA and the antimicrobial activity was tested again for possible packaging applications.
Zinc oxide nanoparticles (nZnOs) released from popular sunscreens used during marine recreation apparently endanger corals; however, the known biological effects are very limited. Membrane lipids constitute the basic structural element to create cell a dynamic structure according to the circumstance. Nano-specific effects have been shown to mechanically perturb the physical state of the lipid membrane, and the cells accommodating the actions of nZnOs can be involved in the alteration of the membrane lipid composition. To gain insight into the effects of nanoparticles on coral, glycerophosphocholine (GPC) profiling of the coral Seriatopora caliendrum exposed to nZnOs was performed in this study. Increasing lyso-GPCs, docosapentaenoic acid-possessing GPCs and docosahexaenoic acid-possessing GPCs and decreasing arachidonic acid-possessing GPCs were the predominant changes responded to nZnO exposure in the coral. A backfilling of polyunsaturated plasmanylcholines was observed in the coral exposed to nZnO levels over a threshold. These changes can be logically interpreted as an accommodation to nZnOs-induced mechanical disturbances in the cellular membrane based on the biophysical properties of the lipids. Moreover, the coral demonstrated a difference in the changes in lipid profiles between intra-colonial functionally differentiated polyps, indicating an initial membrane composition-dependent response. Based on the physicochemical properties and physiological functions of these changed lipids, some chronic biological effects can be incubated once the coral receives long-term exposure to nZnOs.
Organic ultraviolet (UV) filters are widely used in personal care products and occur ubiquitously in the aquatic environment. In this study, concentrations of seven commonly used organic UV filters were determined in seawater, sediment and five coral species collected from the eastern Pearl River Estuary of South China Sea. Five compounds, benzophenone-1, -3 and -8 (BP-1, -3 and -8), octocrylene (OC) and octyl dimethyl-p-aminobenzoic acid (ODPABA), were detected in the coral tissues with the highest detection frequencies (>65%) and concentrations (31.8 ? 8.6 and 24.7 ? 10.6 ng/g ww, respectively) found for BP-3 and BP-8. Significantly higher concentrations of BP-3 were observed in coral tissues in the wet season, indicating that higher inputs of sunscreen agents could be attributed to the increased coastal recreational activities. Accumulation of UV filters was only observed in soft coral tissues with bioaccumulation factors (log10-values) ranging from 2.21 to 3.01. The results of a preliminary risk assessment indicated that over 20% of coral samples from the study sites contained BP-3 concentrations exceeding the threshold values for causing larval deformities and mortality in the worst-case scenario. Higher probabilities of negative impacts of BP-3 on coral communities are predicted to occur in wet season.