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Toxicity and Applications of Internalised Magnetite Nanoparticles Within Live Paramecium caudatum Cells

Mayne, Richard; Whiting, James; Adamatzky, Andrew


Richard Mayne

James Whiting
Occasional Associate Lecturer - FET EDM


© 2017, The Author(s). The nanotechnology revolution has allowed us to speculate on the possibility of hybridising nanoscale materials with live substrates, yet significant doubt still remains pertaining to the effects of nanomaterials on biological matter. In this investigation, we cultivate the ciliated protistic pond-dwelling microorganism Paramecium caudatum in the presence of excessive quantities of magnetite nanoparticles in order to deduce potential beneficial applications for this technique, as well as observe any deleterious effects on the organisms’ health. Our findings indicate that this variety of nanoparticle is well-tolerated by P. caudatum cells, who were observed to consume them in quantities exceeding 5–12% of their body volume: cultivation in the presence of magnetite nanoparticles does not alter P. caudatum cell volume, swimming speed, growth rate or peak colony density and cultures may persist in nanoparticle-contaminated media for many weeks. We demonstrate that P. caudatum cells ingest starch-coated magnetite nanoparticles which facilitates their being magnetically immobilised whilst maintaining apparently normal ciliary dynamics, thus demonstrating that nanoparticle biohybridisation is a viable alternative to conventional forms of ciliate quieting. Ingested magnetite nanoparticle deposits appear to aggregate, suggesting that (a) the process of being internalised concentrates and may therefore detoxify (i.e. render less reactive) nanomaterial suspensions in aquatic environments, and (b) P. caudatum is a candidate organism for programmable nanomaterial manipulation and delivery.


Mayne, R., Whiting, J., & Adamatzky, A. (2018). Toxicity and Applications of Internalised Magnetite Nanoparticles Within Live Paramecium caudatum Cells. BioNanoScience, 8(1), 90-94.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 1, 2017
Publication Date Mar 1, 2018
Journal BioNanoScience
Print ISSN 2191-1630
Electronic ISSN 2191-1649
Publisher Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 1
Pages 90-94
Keywords nanotoxicology, SPION, quieting, paramecia, biohybridisation
Public URL
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