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The effects of co-exposure of graphene oxide and copper under different pH conditions in Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum

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Carbon nanomaterials (CNM), such as graphene oxide (GO), have been the focus of study in several areas of science mostly due to their physical-chemical properties. However, data concerning the potential toxic effects of these CNM in bivalves are still scarce. When present in the aquatic systems, the combination with other contaminants, as well as pH environmental variations, can influence the behavior of these nanomaterials and, consequently, their toxicity. Thus, the main goal of this study was to evaluate the effect of exposure of clam Ruditapes philippinarum to GO when acting alone and in the combination with copper (Cu), under two pH levels (control 7.8 and 7.3). A 28-day exposure was performed and metabolism and oxidative stress-related parameters were evaluated. The effects caused by GO and Cu exposures, either isolated or co-exposed, showed a direct and dependent relationship with the pH in which the organisms were exposed. In clams maintained at control pH (7.8), Cu and GO + Cu treatments showed lower lipid peroxidation (LPO) and lower electron transport system (ETS) activity, respectively. In clams maintained at low pH, glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs) activities were increased in Cu and Cu + GO treatments, whereas reduced glutathione (GSH) levels were increased in Cu treatment and ETS activity was higher in GO + Cu. Thus, it can be observed that clams responses to Cu and GO were strongly modulated by pH in terms of their defense system and energy production, although this does not result into higher LPO levels.

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R.S. Britto was fellow of the Brazilian Agency CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) in the Program Ciência sem Fronteiras (process number 234818/2014-0). Rosa Freitas was funded by national funds (OE), through FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., in the scope of the framework contract foreseen in the numbers 4, 5, and 6 of the article 23, of the Decree-Law 57/2016, of August 29, changed by Law 57/2017, of July 19. Thanks are due for the financial support to CESAM (UID/AMB/50017/2019) to FCT/MEC through national funds, and the co-funding by the FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020. This work was also financially supported by the project BISPECIAl: BIvalveS under Polluted Environment and ClImate chAnge (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-028425) funded by FEDER, through COMPETE2020—Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI), and by national funds (OE), through FCT/MCTES. J.M. Monserrat is a productivity fellow from CNPq (process number PQ 308539/2016–8). J.M. Monserrat is grateful to Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia Nanomaterial de Carbono (MCTI/CNPq) (Proc. 421701/2017-0) for financial and logistic support. José Monserrate and Rosa Freitas are also funded by CYTED through the RED Iberoanericana RIESCOS (419RT0578).

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Correspondence to José M. Monserrat or Rosa Freitas.

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Britto, R.S., Nascimento, J.P., Serode, T. et al. The effects of co-exposure of graphene oxide and copper under different pH conditions in Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 30945–30956 (2020).

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