In vitro toxicity of particulate matter emissions from residential pellet combustion

Célia A. Alves , Estela D. Vicente , Daniela Figueiredo , Cátia Gonçalves , Isabel Lopes , Helena Oliveira , Nora Kováts , Teresa Pinheiro


Received April 01, 2021,Revised , Accepted June 08, 2021, Available online August 03, 2021

Volume 34,2022,Pages 215-226

Particulate matter emissions (PM10) from the combustion, in a residential stove, of two commercial brands of certified (ENplus A1) pellets, a non-certified brand and laboratory made pellets of acacia were tested for their ability to induce ecotoxic, cytotoxic, and mutagenic responses in unicellular organisms and a human cell line. Ecotoxicity was evaluated through the Vibrio fischeri bioluminescence inhibition assay. Moreover, cytotoxicity was assessed at two time points (24- and 48-hr) through two complementary techniques in order to evaluate the cellular metabolic activity and membrane integrity of human lung epithelial cells A549. The Ames test using two Salmonella typhimurium strains (TA100 and TA98) was employed to assess the mutagenic potential of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon fraction extracted from the PM10 samples. Results obtained with the bioluminescent bacteria indicated that only particles from the combustion of acacia pellets were toxic. All samples induced impairment on the A549 cells metabolic activity, while no significant release of lactate dehydrogenase was recorded. PM10 emissions from acacia pellets were the most cytotoxic, while samples from both certified pellets evoked significant cytotoxicity at lower doses. Cytotoxicity time-dependency was only observed for PM10 from the combustion of acacia pellets and one of the brands of certified pellets. Mutagenic activity was not detected in both S. typhimurium strains. This study emphasises the role of the raw material for pellet manufacturing on the toxicological profile of PM emissions. Alternative raw materials should be deeply investigated before their use in pelletisation and combustion in residential appliances.

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