Development of predictive QSAR models for Vibrio fischeri toxicity of ionic liquids and their true external and experimental validation tests


Despite possessing an interesting chemical nature and tuneable physicochemical properties, ionic liquids (ILs) must have their ecotoxicity tested in order to be commercialized. The water solubility of ILs allows their easy access to the aquatic compartment of the ecosystem creating a potential hazard to aquatic organisms. Hence, it is relevant to design ionic liquids with lower toxicity while keeping the desired properties of interest. Considering the possibility of an enormous number of combinations of different cations and anions, a rational guidance for the structural design of ionic liquids is essential in order to prioritize the synthesis as well as testing of selected molecules only. Predictive in silico models, such as quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) models, can play a pivotal role in exploring the important chemical attributes contributing to the response activity. These models may then lead to the design of novel ionic liquids. The present study aims at developing predictive QSAR models for the ecotoxicity of ionic liquids using the bacteria Vibrio fischeri as an indicator response species. Instead of a single model, here we have used multiple models to capture more complete structural information of ionic liquids for toxicity towards Vibrio fischeri. The derived chemical attributes have been implemented in designing new analogues, some of which have been synthesized and had their ecotoxicity tested for the same model organism. The predictive QSAR models reported here can be used for ecotoxicity prediction of new IL chemicals and for data-gap filling. Moreover, the synthesized low-toxic ILs could be considered for evaluation as well as for application in suitable processes serving the purpose of industry and academia.



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Das, RN; Sintra, TE; Coutinho, JAP; Ventura, SPM; Roy, K; Popelier, PLA

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K. R. thanks the European Commission for financial support under the project ECZ IONTOX. R. N. D. thanks CSIR, New Delhi for a Senior Research Fellowship. This work was developed within the scope of the project CICECO - Aveiro Institute of Materials POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007679 (FCT Ref. UID/CTM/50011/2013), financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC and when appropriate, co-financed by FEDER under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and the project PTDC/ATP-EAM/5331/2014. T. E. Sintra and S. P. M. Ventura are grateful for financial support through FCT for the doctoral and post-doctoral grants SFRH/BD/85871/2012 and SFRH/BPD/79263/2011, respectively.

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