Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Plant and Soil Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Jason Unrine


Manufactured CeO2 nanomaterials (CeO2-MNMs) are used for a wide variety of applications including diesel fuel additives and chemical/mechanical planarization media. To test the effects of CeO2-MNM surface coating charge on to model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, we synthesized 4 nm CeO2 with cationic (DEAE-), anionic (CM-), and neutral (DEX) coatings. In L3 nematodes exposed for 24 hours, DEAE-CeO2 induced lethality at lower concentrations than CM- or DEX-CeO2. Feeding slightly decreased CeO2 toxicity, regardless of coating. In L2 nematodes exposed for 48 hours with feeding, DEAE-CeO2 caused lethality at the lower concentrations as compared to CM- and DEX-CeO2. Sublethal effects were measured by observing reproduction and oxidative/nitrosative protein damage. Low concentrations of DEAE-CeO2 induced similar reductions as CM- and DEX-CeO2 that were two orders of magnitude higher. Using immunochemical slot blots to explore oxidative/nitrosative stress, no treatments produced significant changes in protein carbonyl or 3-nitrotyrosine formation; however, the statistical power of our assay was low. All treatments caused large but not statistically significant increases in protein carbonyl levels. DEAE-CeO2 exposure caused a significant reduction in 4-hydroxy-2-nonenol levels. This research suggests that cationic coatings render CeO2 significantly more toxic to C. elegans than neutral or anionic coatings.