Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 394, Issue 3, pp 911–917 | Cite as

Synchrotron X-ray 2D and 3D elemental imaging of CdSe/ZnS quantum dot nanoparticles in Daphnia magna

  • Brian P. JacksonEmail author
  • Heather E. Pace
  • Antonio Lanzirotti
  • Randy Smith
  • James F. Ranville
Technical Note


The potential toxicity of nanoparticles to aquatic organisms is of interest given that increased commercialization will inevitably lead to some instances of inadvertent environmental exposures. Cadmium selenide quantum dots (QDs) capped with zinc sulfide are used in the semiconductor industry and in cellular imaging. Their small size (<10 nm) suggests that they may be readily assimilated by exposed organisms. We exposed Daphnia magna to both red and green QDs and used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence to study the distribution of Zn and Se in the organism over a time period of 36 h. The QDs appeared to be confined to the gut, and there was no evidence of further assimilation into the organism. Zinc and Se fluorescence signals were highly correlated, suggesting that the QDs had not dissolved to any extent. There was no apparent difference between red or green QDs, i.e., there was no effect of QD size. 3D tomography confirmed that the QDs were exclusively in the gut area of the organism. It is possible that the QDs aggregated and were therefore too large to cross the gut wall.


Nanoparticles Quantum dots Synchrotron XRF Elemental imaging Tomography 



This work was supported by US EPA RD-83332401-0 to BJ and JR. The work was performed at Beamlines X27A and X26A, National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), Brookhaven National Laboratory. Beamline X26A is supported by the Department of Energy (DOE)-Geosciences (DE-FG02-92ER14244 to The University of Chicago-CARS). Use of the NSLS and Beamline X27A was supported by DOE under contract no. DE-AC02-98CH10886.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian P. Jackson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Heather E. Pace
    • 2
  • Antonio Lanzirotti
    • 3
  • Randy Smith
    • 4
  • James F. Ranville
    • 2
  1. 1.Trace Element Analysis Laboratory, Departments of Earth Sciences and ChemistryDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry and GeochemistryColorado School of MinesGoldenUSA
  3. 3.Consortium for Advanced Radiation SourcesUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  4. 4.National Synchrotron Light SourceBrookhaven National LaboratoryUptonUSA

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