The cytotoxic, inflammatory and oxidative potential of coconut oil-substituted diesel emissions on bronchial epithelial cells at an air-liquid interface

Annalicia Vaughan, Svetlana Stevanovic, Andrew P.W. Banks, Ali Zare, Md Mostafizur Rahman, Rayleen V. Bowman, Kwun M. Fong, Zoran D. Ristovski, Ian A. Yang

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Diesel emissions contain high levels of particulate matter (PM) which can have a severe effect on the airways. Diesel PM can be effectively reduced with the substitution of diesel fuel with a biofuel such as vegetable oil. Unfortunately, very little is known about the cellular effects of these alternative diesel emissions on the airways. The aim of this study was to test whether coconut oil substitution in diesel fuel reduces the adverse effect of diesel emission exposure on human bronchial epithelial cells. Human bronchial epithelial cells were cultured at air-liquid interface for 7 days and exposed to diesel engine emissions from conventional diesel fuel or diesel fuel blended with raw coconut oil at low (10%), moderate (15%) and high (20%) proportions. Cell viability, inflammation, antioxidant production and xenobiotic metabolism were measured. Compared to conventional diesel, low fractional coconut oil substitution (10% and 15%) reduced inflammation and increased antioxidant expression, whereas higher fractional coconut oil (20%) reduced cell viability and increased inflammation. Therefore, cellular responses after exposure to alternative diesel emission are dependent on fuel composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27783-27791
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number27
Early online date24 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes



  • Air pollution
  • Antioxidants
  • Bronchial epithelial cells
  • Coconut oil
  • Diesel
  • Inflammation
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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