Reactive oxygen species detection using fluorescence in enchytraeus crypticus—method implementation through ag nm300k case study

Susana I.L. Gomes*, Ana B. Neves, Janeck J. Scott-Fordsmand, Mónica J.B. Amorim

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    An imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidants in a living organism results in oxidative stress. Measures of such imbalance can be used as a biomarker of stress in ecotoxicology. In this study, we implemented the ROS detection method based on the oxidant-sensing probe dichloro-dihydro-fluorescein diacetate (DCFH-DA), detected by fluorescence microscopy, in Enchytraeus crypticus adults and cocoons, i.e., also covering the embryo stage. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2 ), a well-known ROS inducer, was used both to optimize the method and as positive control. Implementation was successful, and the method was used to assess ROS formation in E. crypticus cocoons and adults when exposed to the reference silver nanomaterial Ag NM300K, at two effect concentrations (EC20 and EC50) for both hatching and reproduction over 3 and 7 days. The measured ROS levels varied with time, concentration, and developmental stage, with higher levels detected in adults compared with cocoons. In cocoons, ROS levels were higher at the EC20 than the EC50, which could be explained by non-monotonic concentration-response curve for hatching and reproduction, as previously observed. The increase in ROS levels at day 3 preceded the oxidative damage, as reported to occur later (day 7) in adults. The DCFH-DA method was successfully implemented here and can be further used as a new tool to detect ROS formation in E. crypticus, especially after short-term exposure to chemicals, including nanomaterials. We recommend the use of 3 and 7 days in the exposure design for this assessment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number232
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


    • DCFH-DA method
    • Fluorescence microscopy
    • Nanomaterials
    • Oxidative stress
    • Soil invertebrates


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