A mechanistic study of TiO2nanoparticle toxicity on Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 with UV-containing simulated solar irradiation: Bacterial growth, riboflavin secretion, and gene expression

Tian A. Qiu, Ben M. Meyer, Ky G. Christenson, Rebecca D. Klaper, Christy L. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Toxicity of nanomaterials to ecological systems has recently emerged as an important field of research, and thus, many researchers are exploring the mechanisms of how nanoparticles impact organisms. Herein, we probe the mechanisms of bacteria-nanoparticle interaction by investigating how TiO2nanoparticles impact a model organism, the metal-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis MR-1. In addition to examining the effect of TiO2exposure, the effect of synergistic simulated solar irradiation containing UV was explored in this study, as TiO2nanoparticles are known photocatalysts. The data reveal that TiO2nanoparticles cause an inhibition of S. oneidensis growth at high dosage without compromising cell viability, yet co-exposure of nanoparticles and illumination does not increase the adverse effects on bacterial growth relative to TiO2alone. Measurements of intracellular reactive oxygen species and riboflavin secretion, on the same nanoparticle-exposed bacteria, reveal that TiO2nanoparticles have no effect on these cell functions, but application of UV-containing illumination with TiO2nanoparticles has an impact on the level of riboflavin outside bacterial cells. Finally, gene expression studies were employed to explore how cells respond to TiO2nanoparticles and illumination, and these results were correlated with cell growth and cell function assessment. Together these data suggest a minimal impact of TiO2NPs and simulated solar irradiation containing UV on S. oneidensis MR-1, and the minimal impact could be accounted for by the nutrient-rich medium used in this work. These measurements demonstrate a comprehensive scheme combining various analytical tools to enable a mechanistic understanding of nanoparticle-cell interactions and to evaluate the potential adverse effects of nanoparticles beyond viability/growth considerations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1158-1168
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd


  • Gene expression
  • Riboflavin
  • Shewanella oneidensis
  • Simulated solar irradiation
  • Titanium dioxide nanoparticles
  • UV


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