This work contributes to fill one of the gaps regarding nanoplastic interactions with biological systems by producing polyethylene terephthalate (PET) model nanoplastics, similar to those found in the marine environment, by means of a fast top-down approach based on mechanical fragmentation. Their size distribution and morphology were characterized by laser diffraction and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Their autofluorescence was studied by spectrofluorimetry and fluorescence imaging, being a key property for the evaluation of their interaction with biota. The emission spectra of label-free nanoplastics were comparable with those of PET nanoplastics labeled with Nile red. Finally, the suitability of label-free nanoplastics for biological studies was assessed by in vitro exposure with Mytilus galloprovincialis hemolymphatic cells in a time interval up to 6 h. The nanoplastic internalization into these cells, known to be provided with phagocytic activity, was assessed by fluorescence microscopy. The obtained results underlined that the autofluorescence of the model PET nanoplastics produced in the laboratory was adequate for biological studies having the potential to overcome the disadvantages commonly associated with several fluorescent dyes, such as the tendency to also stain other organic materials different from plastics, to form aggregates due to intermolecular interactions at high concentrations with a consequent decrease in fluorescence intensity, and to dye desorption from nanoparticles. The results of the autofluorescence study provide an innovative approach for plastic risk assessment.

Autofluorescence of Model Polyethylene Terephthalate Nanoplastics for Cell Interaction Studies

Francesca Lionetto
;
Maria Giulia Lionetto;Claudio Mele;Carola Esposito Corcione;Sonia Bagheri;Gayatri Udayan;Alfonso Maffezzoli
2022-01-01

Abstract

This work contributes to fill one of the gaps regarding nanoplastic interactions with biological systems by producing polyethylene terephthalate (PET) model nanoplastics, similar to those found in the marine environment, by means of a fast top-down approach based on mechanical fragmentation. Their size distribution and morphology were characterized by laser diffraction and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Their autofluorescence was studied by spectrofluorimetry and fluorescence imaging, being a key property for the evaluation of their interaction with biota. The emission spectra of label-free nanoplastics were comparable with those of PET nanoplastics labeled with Nile red. Finally, the suitability of label-free nanoplastics for biological studies was assessed by in vitro exposure with Mytilus galloprovincialis hemolymphatic cells in a time interval up to 6 h. The nanoplastic internalization into these cells, known to be provided with phagocytic activity, was assessed by fluorescence microscopy. The obtained results underlined that the autofluorescence of the model PET nanoplastics produced in the laboratory was adequate for biological studies having the potential to overcome the disadvantages commonly associated with several fluorescent dyes, such as the tendency to also stain other organic materials different from plastics, to form aggregates due to intermolecular interactions at high concentrations with a consequent decrease in fluorescence intensity, and to dye desorption from nanoparticles. The results of the autofluorescence study provide an innovative approach for plastic risk assessment.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11587/467616
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