The recent increase in nanomaterial usage has led to concerns surrounding its health risks and environmental impact. The food chain is an important pathway for high-trophic-level organisms absorbing and enriching nanomaterials. Our study therefore simulated nanometer titanium dioxide (nano-TiO2) transfer along a 2-step food chain, from the unicellular alga Scenedesmus obliquus to the water flea Daphnia magna. We also explored the effect of sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate (SDBS) on nano-TiO2 bioavailability. A suspension of 10 mg/L nano-TiO2 was optimally dispersed in aqueous solutions by 5 mg/L SDBS. After 72 h, S. obliquus growth was not significantly affected by 10 mg/L nano-TiO2, 5 mg/L SDBS and their mixed suspension. SDBS not only improved nano-TiO2 stability in water, but also increased its uptake in S. obliquus and enhanced its accumulation in D. magna. Our study suggests that nano-TiO2 is mildly toxic to S. obliquus, and can be transferred along the aquatic food chain with a biomagnification effect.
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