Meng-Ching Chung1, Ming-Hsien Tsai2, Danielle E. Que3, Sayre J. Bongo4, Wen-Li Hsu1,5, Lemmuel L. Tayo4, Yi-Hsien Lin6, Sheng-Lun Lin7,8,9, Yan-You Gou1, Yi-Chyun Hsu10, Wen-Che Hou3, Kuo-Lin Huang1, How-Ran Chao This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1,11

Emerging Compounds Research Center, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan
Department of Child Care, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan
Department of Environmental Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 70101, Taiwan
School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering and Sciences, Mapúa University, Intramuros, Manila 1002, Philippines
Research Institute for Life Support Innovation, Research Organization for Nano and Life Innovation, Waseda University, Shinjuku, Tokyo 162-8480, Japan
Department of Plant Medicine, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan
Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung 83347, Taiwan
Center for Environmental Toxin and Emerging-Contaminant Research, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung 83347, Taiwan
Super Micro Mass Research and Technology Center, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung 83347, Taiwan
10 Department of Environmental Engineering, Kun Shan University, Tainan 71003, Taiwan
11 Institute of Food Safety Management, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan


Received: March 21, 2019
Revised: April 23, 2019
Accepted: April 24, 2019
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Cite this article:

Chung, M.C., Tsai, M.H., Que, D.E., Bongo, S.J., Hsu, W.L., Tayo, L.L., Lin, Y.H., Lin, S.L., Gou, Y.Y., Hsu, Y.C., Hou, W.C., Huang, K.L. and Chao, H.R. (2019). Fine Particulate Matter-induced Toxic Effects in an Animal Model of Caenorhabditis elegans. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 19: 1068-1078.


  • C. elegans is a sensitive animal model to evaluate PM2.5 toxicity.
  • Low PM2.5 levels shortened the lifespan of C. elegans.
  • Low PM2.5 levels caused reproductive toxicity of C. elegans.
  • Low PM2.5 levels delayed locomotion behavior of C. elegans.


Research has been focused on the health hazards of ambient PM2.5 related to humans. Many PM2.5 toxicity assessments using in vitro studies have focused on PM2.5-bounded hazardous pollutants. However, PM2.5 toxicity assessment by in vivo studies allow for better observation of the overall effects of PM2.5 exposure on entire organisms, making in vivo PM2.5 toxicity assessment relevant. The toxic effects of outdoor PM2.5, collected from National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) and Linluo Junior High School (LJHS), Pingtung, Taiwan, on nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) were investigated. PM2.5 from NPUST and LJHS were found to be 4.5 and 2.5 μg Nm–3, respectively, which did not meet the standard. This levels of PM2.5 in Taiwan. For acute toxicity, no significant PM2.5 lethality on C. elegans was observed between NPUST and LJHS. PM2.5 from NPUST exhibited greater toxicity to lifespan (ageing), locomotion (head thrash), and reproduction (brood size) in the C. elegans animal models than that from LJHS; therefore, adverse effects could be correlated with PM2.5 concentrations. Prolonged exposure to PM2.5 led to more severe toxicity in nematodes as compared to acute exposure. In conclusion, this study suggests that the long-term adverse effects of ambient PM2.5 on environmental organisms should be carefully considered even when PM2.5 is at low levels. C. elegans is a sensitive animal model for the evaluation of PM2.5 ecotoxicity.

Keywords: C. elegans; PM2.5; Lifespan; Locomotion; Reproduction; Ageing.


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