The toxic effects of individual and binary mixtures of five metal oxide nanoparticles (NPs) were evaluated based on changes in two endpoints of algal growth: the cell count and chlorophyll content. Various effects were observed according to the concentration tested and type of NPs, and there were no significant differences in findings for the two endpoints. In general, ZnO NPs caused the greatest inhibition of algal growth, and Fe2
NPs the least. The EC50
for ZnO was 2.0 mg/L for the cell count and 2.6 mg/L for the chlorophyll content, and it was 76 and 90 mg/L, respectively, for Fe2
. The EC50
values were in the order ZnO > NiO > CuO > TiO2
. Subsequently, the effects of 30 binary mixture combinations on the chlorophyll content were evaluated. Comparisons were made between the observed and the expected toxicities calculated based on the individual NP toxicities. Overall, additive action (67%) was mainly observed, followed by antagonistic (16.5%) and synergistic (16.5%) actions. These results suggest that environmental exposure to NP mixtures may cause toxicity levels similar to the sum of those of the constituent NPs.
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