Synergistic cytotoxicity of binary combinations of inorganic and organic disinfection byproducts assessed by real-time cell analysis

Xin Yang , Mengge Fan , Longfei Shu , Xinran Zhang , Miao Yu , Yongting Du , Junlang Qiu , Carsten Prasse , Chao Chen , Bin Xu , Xing-Fang Li


Received March 07, 2022,Revised , Accepted April 23, 2022, Available online May 05, 2022

Volume 34,2022,Pages 222-231

Chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and ozone are widely used as disinfectants in drinking water treatments. However, the combined use of different disinfectants can result in the formation of various organic and inorganic disinfection byproducts (DBPs). The toxic interactions, including synergism, addition, and antagonism, among the complex DBPs are still unclear. In this study, we established and verified a real-time cell analysis (RTCA) method for cytotoxicity measurement on Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell. Using this convenient and accurate method, we assessed the cytotoxicity of a series of binary combinations consisting of one of the 3 inorganic DBPs (chlorite, chlorate, and bromate) and one of the 32 regulated and emerging organic DBPs. The combination index (CI) of each combination was calculated and evaluated by isobolographic analysis to reflect the toxic interactions. The results confirmed the synergistic effect on cytotoxicity in the binary combinations consisting of chlorite and one of the 5 organic DBPs (2 iodinated DBPs (I-DBPs) and 3 brominated DBPs (Br-DBPs)), chlorate and one of the 4 organic DBPs (3 aromatic DBPs and dibromoacetonitrile), and bromate and one of the 3 organic DBPs (2 I-DBPs and dibromoacetic acid). The possible synergism mechanism of organic DBPs on the inorganic ones may be attributed to the influence of organic DBPs on cell membrane and cell antioxidant system. This study revealed the toxic interactions among organic and inorganic DBPs, and emphasized the latent adverse outcomes in the combined use of different disinfectants.

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