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Title: In Vivo Toxicity Assessment of Chitosan-Coated Lignin Nanoparticles in Embryonic Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
Lignin is the second most abundant biopolymer on Earth after cellulose. Since lignin breaks down in the environment naturally, lignin nanoparticles may serve as biodegradable carriers of biocidal actives with minimal environmental footprint compared to conventional antimicrobial formulations. Here, a lignin nanoparticle (LNP) coated with chitosan was engineered. Previous studies show both lignin and chitosan to exhibit antimicrobial properties. Another study showed that adding a chitosan coating can improve the adsorption of LNPs to biological samples by electrostatic adherence to oppositely charged surfaces. Our objective was to determine if these engineered particles would elicit toxicological responses, utilizing embryonic zebrafish toxicity assays. Zebrafish were exposed to nanoparticles with an intact chorionic membrane and with the chorion enzymatically removed to allow for direct contact of particles with the developing embryo. Both mortality and sublethal endpoints were analyzed. Mortality rates were significantly greater for chitosan-coated LNPs (Ch-LNPs) compared to plain LNPs and control groups. Significant sublethal endpoints were observed in groups exposed to Ch-LNPs with chorionic membranes intact. Our study indicated that engineered Ch-LNP formulations at high concentrations were more toxic than plain LNPs. Further study is warranted to fully understand the mechanisms of Ch-LNP toxicity.
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National Science Foundation
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