Comparison of the toxicity of diesel exhaust produced by bio- and fossil diesel combustion in human lung cells in vitro

Steiner, Sandro; Czerwinski, Jan; Compte, Pierre; Popovicheva, Olga; Kireeva, Elena; Müller, Loretta; Heeb, Norbert; Mayer, Andreas; Fink, Alke; Rothen-Rutishauser, Barbara (2013). Comparison of the toxicity of diesel exhaust produced by bio- and fossil diesel combustion in human lung cells in vitro. Atmospheric environment, 81, pp. 380-388. Pergamon 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2013.08.059

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Alternative fuels are increasingly combusted in diesel- and gasoline engines and the contribution of such exhausts to the overall air pollution is on the rise. Recent findings on the possible adverse effects of biodiesel exhaust are contradictive, at least partly resulting from the various fuel qualities, engine types and different operation conditions that were tested. However, most of the studies are biased by undesired interactions between the exhaust samples and biological culture media. We here report how complete, freshly produced exhausts from fossil diesel (B0), from a blend of 20% rapeseed-methyl ester (RME) and 80% fossil diesel (B20) and from pure rapeseed methyl ester (B100) affect a complex 3D cellular model of the human airway epithelium in vitro by exposing the cells at the air–liquid interface. The induction of pro-apoptotic and necrotic cell death, cellular morphology, oxidative stress, and pro-inflammatory responses were assessed. Compared to B0 exhaust, B20 exhaust decreased oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory responses, whereas B100 exhaust, depending on exposure duration, decreased oxidative stress but increased pro-inflammatory responses. The effects are only very weak and given the compared to fossil diesel higher ecological sustainability of biodiesel, it appears that – at least RME – can be considered a valuable alternative to pure fossil diesel.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gastro-intestinal, Liver and Lung Disorders (DMLL) > Clinic of Pneumology

UniBE Contributor:

Rothen-Rutishauser, Barbara


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
000 Computer science, knowledge & systems > 020 Library & information sciences








Rahel Holderegger

Date Deposited:

30 Apr 2014 10:31

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:32

Publisher DOI:





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