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Biodiesel, which can be made from a variety of natural oils, is currently promoted as a sustainable, healthier replacement for commercial mineral diesel despite little experimental data supporting this. The aim of our research was to investigate the health impacts of exposure to exhaust generated by the combustion of diesel and two different biodiesels. Male BALB/c mice (n = 24 per group) were exposed for 2 h/day for 8 days to diluted exhaust from a diesel engine running on ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) or Tallow or Canola biodiesel, with room air exposures used as control. A variety of respiratory-related end-point measurements were assessed, including lung function, responsiveness to methacholine, airway inflammation and cytokine response, and airway morphometry. Exposure to Tallow biodiesel exhaust resulted in the most significant health impacts compared to Air controls, including increased airway hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation. In contrast, exposure to Canola biodiesel exhaust resulted in fewer negative health effects. Exposure to ULSD resulted in health impacts between those of the two biodiesels. The health effects of biodiesel exhaust exposure vary depending on the feedstock used to make the fuel.
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