Universiteit Leiden

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Quantifying the toxicity of mixtures of metals and metal-based nanoparticles to higher plants

Promotores: Prof.dr. W.J.G.M. Peijnenburg & Dr. M.G. Vijver

Y. Liu
20 oktober 2015
Thesis in Leiden Repository

The study emphasizes the importance of two toxicity-modifying factors (the composition of the surrounding exposure media and mixture effects) in the assessment of toxic effects of metals and metal-based NPs on higher plants. Based on the affinity of metals for binding sites on the biotic ligand at the water-organism interface, the mechanistic models we developed provide better links with the toxicity of metal mixtures. We also recommend that finding a statistically significant deviation from additivity can be the starting point for further mechanistic research concerning toxicologically relevant interactions between substances, instead of the endpoint of research used so far. As an extension of the research discussed in the third chapter of this thesis, the commonly known model for the toxicity of mixtures was proven to be suitable for preliminarily assessing the effects of metal-based NPs on terrestrial organisms. The experimental design of nested combinations helps establish a more realistic exposure scenario for the environment and makes it possible to identify where and how chemical-chemical interactions occur with metal-based NPs. Consequently, our findings enrich the rapidly evolving field of toxicology regarding metals and metal-based NPs.