The nanoparticles did not bring about the rapid death of their host organism. On the contrary, the material induces the organism to perform an elaborate strategy for self-defense and represents a factor that interferes with the correct development of the pluteus larva.

Dose-dependent process

Electron microscopy results show that the pluteus packets the C-NPs in nanoribbons that are then assembled into a more complex structure until aragonite nanorods are generated. This behaviour can be seen in oysters, which envelop external agents in aragonite layers – a process that is activated by the Sp-CyP-1 gene.

In the work, the team shows that the Sp-CyP-1 gene is also present in P. lividus and that expression of the gene is modulated by the presence of NPs.

Using calcein, a polyanionic derivative of fluorescein that binds Ca2+ and other divalent cations, the researchers were able to mark the sites in which there was active biomineralization.

Full details can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.