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Portrait of Tommy Cedervall; Photo: Kennet Ruona

Tommy Cedervall

Associate Professor, Coordinator Nanosafety

Portrait of Tommy Cedervall; Photo: Kennet Ruona

Size fractionation of high-density polyethylene breakdown nanoplastics reveals different toxic response in Daphnia magna


  • Mikael T Ekvall
  • Isabella Gimskog
  • Jing Hua
  • Egle Kelpsiene
  • Martin Lundqvist
  • Tommy Cedervall

Summary, in English

Plastic litter is a growing environmental problem. Recently, microplastics and nanoplastics, produced during breakdown processes in nature, have been in focus. Although there is a growing knowledge concerning microplastic, little is still known about the effect of nanoplastics. We have showed that mechanical breakdown of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), followed by filtration through 0.8 µm filters, produces material toxic to the freshwater zooplankton Daphnia magna and affected the reproduction in life-time tests. However, further size fractionation and purification reveals that the nanoplastics fraction is non-toxic at these concentrations, whereas the fraction with smaller sizes, below ~ 3 nm, is toxic. The HDPE nanoplastics are highly oxidized and with an average diameter of 110 nm. We conclude that mechanical breakdown of HDPE may cause environmental problems, but that the fraction of leached additives and short chain HDPE are more problematic than HDPE nanoplastics.


  • CAnMove - Centre for Animal Movement Research
  • Aquatic Ecology
  • NanoLund: Center for Nanoscience
  • Biochemistry and Structural Biology
  • NanoLund: Nanoscience and nanotechnology

Publishing year







Scientific Reports



Document type

Journal article


Nature Publishing Group


  • Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
  • Biomaterials Science
  • Polymer Technologies



Research group

  • CAnMove - Centre for Animal Movement Research
  • Aquatic Ecology


  • ISSN: 2045-2322