Metallic particles are present in several science and industry areas and are used in the environmental protection and building engineering, medicine, agriculture and the food and cosmetic industry (Sirotkin et al., 2021). Among the metal particles titanium dioxide (TiO2) has desirable properties in the production of new materials because they have low combustion, odorless, high resistance to corrosive agents, high density and very high refractive index (Shi et al., 2013). TiO2 exists as rutile, anatase and brookite bulk crystalline polymorphic forms (Sadrieh et al., 2010). The rutile phase is more stable and has lower photocatalytic activity than anatase (Barbosa et al., 2018). This oxide has been used as an inorganic filter in sunscreens due to protection effect against UV radiation absorbing, scattering and reflecting (Lu et al., 2015).
TiO2 are the most relevant nanomaterial in terms of world production volumes with reaches about 10 tons per year (Bundschuh et al., 2018), and used worldwide in several areas in the manufacture of products such as sunscreen, cosmetics, paints, food additives, medicines and construction (Ozkan et al., 2016). The daily use of these products results in the release of TiO2 particles (in the micro and nano scale) into the environment, negatively affecting aquatic organisms (Nowack and Bucheli, 2007), through the food chain (Farré et al., 2009). Most of the studies currently are related to the toxicity of TiO2 on a nanometric scale and few research related to the toxicity of TiO2 microparticles has been done.
The toxicity of TiO2 is related to their photocatalytic properties. Under UV-A radiation they become reactive, oxidizing molecules and organic substrates causing cellular damage (Fu et al., 2014). In ecotoxicological tests using aquatic organisms it was observed that TiO2NPs were toxic to algae and microcrustaceans (Clément et al., 2013). With Daphnia magna, it was observed that TiO2 caused mortality above 50% in individuals and the toxicity was proportional to the increase of particles concentration (Hund-Rinke and Simon, 2006). In addition to D. magna, A. salina are used in toxicity tests as noted by Rekulapally et al. (2019) using different types of particles. These toxic effects were generated through the accumulation of NPs in aquatic environments (Kachenton et al., 2019), directly affecting zooplankton (Farré et al., 2009). Thus, our hypothesis is that MTiO2 enters the environment causing toxic effects for biota. To assess possible toxicity of MTiO2, we used A. salina as a study model.
The genus Artemia is worldwide distributed and extensively used to toxicological test (Nunes et al., 2006), being the taxon with the highest biomass and primary consumer in the food chain. (Sorgeloos et al., 1978). The life cycle of brine shrimp begins with the breaking of the cyst dormancy, small spheres with great physical and chemical resistance. Dormancy breaks when the spheres come into contact with saline water (Morgana et al., 2018).
The use of this specie as a model in toxicity tests is related to easy handling, high adaptation to laboratory conditions, low maintenance cost, short life cycle and high reproduction rate (Manfra et al., 2014). In addition, the reliability and validity of ecotoxicological tests using A. salina has been confirmed by several tests using different stressors like chemical compounds (Manfra et al., 2014; Pillard and Tapp. 2021) and pharmaceutical (Nunes et al., 2006). Using NPs, several studies point to acute toxicity in A. salina, among them are AgNPs (Lacave et al., 2017; An et al., 2019; Palácio et al., 2021), ZnONPs (Ates et al., 2013a; Khoshnood et al., 2017; Sarkheil et al., 2018), MO-NPs (Gambardella et al, 2014) and TiO2NPs (Ozkan et al., 2016). All these studies show the toxicity of NPs, however, different results can be observed due to different experimental conditions and characteristics of NPs (Sarkheil et al., 2018) justifying ecotoxicological tests.
The aim of this work was to evaluate the acute toxicity of MTiO2 with emphasis on morphological changes, cell damage and number of dead individuals. In our study, it was used MTiO2 in the rutile crystalline phase for acute toxicity tests in A. salina nauplii instar I and instar II.