Nanoscale battery cathode materials induce DNA damage in bacteria

Tian A. Qiu, Valeria Guidolin, Khoi Nguyen L. Hoang, Thomas Pho, Andrea Carra', Peter W Villalta, Jiayi He, Xiaoxiao Yao, Robert J. Hamers, Silvia Balbo, Z. Vivian Feng, Christy L. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The increasing use of nanoscale lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (LixNiyMnzCo1-y-zO2, NMC) as a cathode material in lithium-ion batteries poses risk to the environment. Learning toxicity mechanisms on molecular levels is critical to promote proactive risk assessment of these complex nanomaterials and inform their sustainable development. We focused on DNA damage as a toxicity mechanism and profiled in depth chemical and biological changes linked to DNA damage in two environmentally relevant bacteria upon nano-NMC exposure. DNA damage occurred in both bacteria, characterized by double-strand breakage and increased levels of many putative chemical modifications on bacterial DNA bases related to direct oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, measured by cutting-edge DNA adductomic techniques. Chemical probes indicated elevated intracellular reactive oxygen species and transition metal ions, in agreement with DNA adductomics and gene expression analysis. By integrating multi-dimensional datasets from chemical and biological measurements, we present rich mechanistic insights on nano-NMC-induced DNA damage in bacteria, providing targets for biomarkers in the risk assessment of reactive materials that may be extrapolated to other nano-bio interactions. This journal is

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11244-11258
Number of pages15
JournalChemical Science
Issue number41
StatePublished - Nov 7 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Science Foundation under the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, CHE-2001611. The CSN is part of the Centers for Chemical Innovation Program. T. A. Q. thanks the support from Student Seed Grant from the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. Mass spectrometry was carried out in the Analytical Biochemistry Shared Resource of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, funded in part by Cancer Center Support Grant CA-77598. We thank Dr Mimi N. Hang at the University of Wisconsin, Madison for synthesizing and characterizing the starting nano-NMC materials. We thank Dr Yuya Hayashi for access to the NORMA-Gene workbook in qPCR data analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.


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