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Replacing diesel fuel with biodiesel: for better or for worse?

Farcas M; Yanamala N; Schwegler-Berry D; Hummer J; Shurin M; Birch EM; Gutkin DW; Kisin E; Kagan VE; Bugarski AD; Shvedova AA
Toxicologist 2014 Mar; 138(1):331
Employment of sustainable resources for fuel manufacture has recently gained worldwide trends to limit usage of fossil oils while providing less atmospheric greenhouse gas effects and reducing air pollution. Biodiesel (BD) fuels and biodiesel petroleum blends are used for large truck engines and small, single-cylinder basic piston operating engines. BD produced by transesterification of vegetable oil into fatty acid methyl esters is a renewable energy source. Considering BD fuel is mainly composed of unsaturated fatty acids, we hypothesize that BD exhaust particles could induce pronounced adverse outcomes, due to their ability to readily oxidize fatty acid residues interacting with biological system. We compared the effects of particulate matter (PM) generated by combustion in an engine fueled by corn-based BD to that of petroleum-based diesel (D) after pulmonary exposure of mice by pharyngeal aspiration. We demonstrated that pulmonary exposure to BD PM caused pulmonary inflammation and damage, enhanced release of inflammatory mediators found in BAL and lung tissue causing oxidative stress. Biomarkers of tissue damage, oxidative-stress and inflammation were significantly elevated in lungs of mice exposed to BD compared to those found in mice treated with D. The up-regulation of inflammatory cytokines/chemokines was also higher in lungs of mice treated with BD. Histological evaluation of mouse lungs indicated presence of lymphocytic infiltrate and impaired clearance with prolonged retention of BD PM in pigment laden macrophages. Future studies on the detailed analysis of combustion products from BD and specific mechanism of interactions of these emissions related to found inflammation, oxidative-stress and impaired clearance is underway.
Toxicology; Air-quality; Pollutants; Pollution; Environmental-pollution; Respiration; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Pulmonary-function; Exposure-levels; Lung; Fumes; Aerosols; Laboratory-animals; Animals; Particulates; Chemical-composition; Dust-particles; Dust-exposure; Dusts; Particulates; Workers; Work-environment; Diesel-exhausts; Diesel-emissions; Hydraulic-equipment; Models; Fuel-production; Fuels
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The Toxicologist. Society of Toxicology 53rd Annual Meeting and ToxExpo, March 23-27, 2014, Phonex, Arizona
Page last reviewed: April 8, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division