Toxicity evaluation of graphene and poly(Lactic-acid) using a nematode model Academic Article uri icon


  • Graphene has gained tremendous attention due to its unlimited potential in various applications while poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is a biodegradable thermoplastic polyester produced from fermenting corn starch. The incorporation of graphene into PLA has been proven to exhibit excellent mechanical and thermal properties. However, there are not many reports on the potential toxic effect of these materials towards living organisms. In this study, we investigated the possible toxicity of graphene and PLA-graphene in a live animal model, the nematode Caenorhabdits elegans (C. elegans). Alive adult worms were exposed directly to graphene and PLA-graphene across a range of concentrations from 50 µg/mL to 1000 µg/mL. After certain hours of exposure, the pharyngeal pumping rate (indicative of the C. elegans feeding activity), reproductive rate and lifespan of the worms were determined and compared to the untreated worm population. At all concentrations tested, both graphene and PLA-graphene do not affect the feeding rate of the nematode. Additionally, there was no significant difference between the lifespan of worms exposed to graphene and PLA-graphene as compared to the untreated control population (p>0.05). We examined the effect of graphene on nematode’s ability to reproduce and no reduction in progenies was detected (p>0.05). Taken together, our findings suggest that graphene and PLA-graphene do not possess a negative effect on the feeding activity, reproduction and overall lifespan of the host, indicating that these materials are safe to living organism at concentration up to 1000 µg/mL.

publication date

  • 2019