Metal composition and solubility determine lung toxicity induced by residual oil fly ash collected from different sites within a power plant

James A. Antonini, Michael D. Taylor, Stephen S. Leonard, Nicholas J. Lawryk, Xianglin Shi, Robert W. Clarke, Jenny R. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Residual oil fly ash (ROFA) is a particulate pollutant comprised of soluble and insoluble metals and is produced by the combustion of fossil fuels. The objective was to examine the pulmonary responses to chemically distinct ROFA samples collected from either a precipitator or air heater within the same power plant. The collected ROFA samples were suspended in saline (total sample), incubated for 24 h at 37°C, centrifuged, separated into soluble and insoluble fractions, and the metal composition was determined. In addition, electron spin resonance (ESR) was used to detect short-lived free radical intermediates produced by the ROFA samples and the different fractions. On day 0, Male Sprague-Dawley rats were intratracheally instilled with saline (vehicle control) or the ROFA samples (1 mg/100 g body wt). At day 1, bronchoalveolar lavage was performed, and lung inflammation was assessed. On day 3, additional rats that had been treated with ROFA were intratracheally inoculated with 5 × 105 Listeria monocytogenes, and pulmonary bacterial clearance was measured at days 6, 8, and 10. The precipitator ROFA was found to be more soluble and acidic with a significantly greater mass of each metal compared with the air heater ROFA. A prominent hydroxyl radical signal was measured for the total and soluble precipitator ROFA after the addition of H2O2, whereas the air heater ROFA and its fractions did not produce a signal. Precipitator ROFA induced a greater inflammatory response than air heater ROFA illustrated by a significant elevation in lung neutrophils. In addition, pulmonary clearance of L. monocytogenes was greatly diminished in the rats treated with the soluble and total precipitator ROFA samples. None of the air heater ROFA samples had an effect on lung bacterial clearance. In conclusion, precipitator ROFA, particularly the soluble fraction, generated a metal-dependent hydroxyl radical as measured by ESR and was shown to cause more inflammation and result in reduced lung defense against infection compared with air heater ROFA. These results are most likely due to differences in metal composition and solubility of the ROFA samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-265
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Electron spin resonance
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Lung injury
  • Residual oil fly ash

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Metal composition and solubility determine lung toxicity induced by residual oil fly ash collected from different sites within a power plant'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this