Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Silver nanoparticles may adversely affect environment

This shows mesocosms.

Credit: Benjamin Colman
This shows mesocosms.

Credit: Benjamin Colman

Abstract:
In experiments mimicking a natural environment, Duke University researchers have demonstrated that the silver nanoparticles used in many consumer products can have an adverse effect on plants and microorganisms.

Silver nanoparticles may adversely affect environment

Durham, NC | Posted on February 28th, 2013

Fifty days after scientists applied a single low dose of silver nanoparticles, the experimental environments produced about a third less biomass in some plants and microbes.

These preliminary findings are important, the researchers said, because little is known about the environmental effects of silver nanoparticles, which are found in textiles, clothing, children's toys and pacifiers, disinfectants and toothpaste.

"No one really knows what the effects of these particles are in the environment," said Benjamin Colman, a post-doctoral fellow in Duke's biology department and a member of the Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT).

"We're trying to come up with the data that can be used to help regulators determine the risks to the environment from silver nanoparticle exposures," Colman said. CEINT's research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency

Previous studies have involved high concentrations of the nanoparticles in a laboratory setting, which the researchers point out, doesn't represent "real-world" conditions.

"Results from laboratory studies are difficult to extrapolate to ecosystems, where exposures likely will be at low concentrations and there is a diversity of organisms," Colman said.

Silver nanoparticles are used in consumer products because they can kill bacteria, inhibiting unwanted odors. They work through a variety of mechanisms, including generating free radicals of oxygen which can cause DNA damage to microbial membranes without harming human cells.

The main route by which these particles enter the environment is as a by-product of sewage treatment plants. The nanoparticles are too small to be filtered out, so they and other materials end up in the resulting wastewater treatment "sludge," which is then spread on the land surface as a fertilizer.

For their studies, the researchers created mesocosms, which are small, man-made structures containing different plants and microorganisms meant to represent the environment. They applied sludge with low doses of silver nanoparticles in some of the mesocosms, then compared plants and microorganisms from treated and untreated mesocosms after 50 days.

The study appeared online Feb. 27 in the journal PLOS One.

The researchers found that one of the plants studied, a common annual grass known as Microstegium vimeneum, had 32 percent less biomass in the mesocosms treated with the nanoparticles. Microbes were also affected by the nanoparticles, Colman said. One enzyme associated with helping microbes deal with external stresses was 52 percent less active, while another enzyme that helps regulate processes within the cell was 27 percent less active. The overall biomass of the microbes was also 35 percent lower, he said.

"Our field studies show adverse responses of plants and microorganisms following a single low dose of silver nanoparticles applied by a sewage biosolid," Colman said. "An estimated 60 percent of the average 5.6 million tons of biosolids produced each year is applied to the land for various reasons, and this practice represents an important and understudied route of exposure of natural ecosystems to engineered nanoparticles."

"Our results show that silver nanoparticles in the biosolids, added at concentrations that would be expected, caused ecosystem-level impacts," Colman said. "Specifically, the nanoparticles led to an increase in nitrous oxide fluxes, changes in microbial community composition, biomass, and extracellular enzyme activity, as well as species-specific effects on the above-ground vegetation."

The researchers plan to continue to study longer-term effects of silver nanoparticles and to examine another ubiquitous nanoparticle - titanium dioxide.

The rest of the team were Duke's Christina Arnaout, Claudia Gunsch, Curtis Richardson, Emily Bernhardt, Bonnie McGill and Justin Wright; Sarah Anciaux of Coe College, Iowa; Michael Hochella and Bojeong Kim of Virginia Tech University; Gregory Lowry and Brian C. Reinsch of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh; Jason Unrine at the University of Kentucky; and Liyan Yin of Wuhan Botanical Garden, China.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Richard Merritt

919-660-8414

Copyright © Duke University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

New Vice President Takes Helm at CNSE CMOST: Catherine Gilbert To Lead CNSE Children’s Museum of Science and Technology Through Expansion And Relocation August 29th, 2014

Copper shines as flexible conductor August 29th, 2014

Leading European communications companies and research organizations have launched an EU project developing the future 5th Generation cellular mobile networks August 28th, 2014

Ultra-Low Frequency Vibration Isolation Stabilizes Scanning Tunneling Microscopy at UCLA’s Nano-Research Group August 28th, 2014

Discoveries

Copper shines as flexible conductor August 29th, 2014

Novel 'butterfly' molecule could build new sensors, photoenergy conversion devices August 28th, 2014

New technique uses fraction of measurements to efficiently find quantum wave functions August 28th, 2014

The thunder god vine, assisted by nanotechnology, could shake up future cancer treatment: Targeted therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma using nanotechnology August 27th, 2014

Announcements

New Vice President Takes Helm at CNSE CMOST: Catherine Gilbert To Lead CNSE Children’s Museum of Science and Technology Through Expansion And Relocation August 29th, 2014

Copper shines as flexible conductor August 29th, 2014

Novel 'butterfly' molecule could build new sensors, photoenergy conversion devices August 28th, 2014

New technique uses fraction of measurements to efficiently find quantum wave functions August 28th, 2014

Environment

New Nanosorbent Helps Elimination of Colorants from Textile Wastewater August 25th, 2014

Production of Toxic Ion Nanosorbents with High Sorption Capacity in Iran August 17th, 2014

PerkinElmer to Display Innovative Detection and Informatics Offerings at ACS National Meeting & Exposition Detection, Data Visualization and Analytics for Chemistry Professionals August 8th, 2014

Nature inspires a greener way to make colorful plastics July 30th, 2014

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

Sunblock poses potential hazard to sea life August 20th, 2014

Analytical solutions from Malvern Instruments support University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researchers in understanding environmental effects of nanomaterials July 30th, 2014

NNCO Announces an Interactive Webinar: Progress Review on the Coordinated Implementation of the National Nanotechnology Initiative 2011 Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Strategy July 23rd, 2014

Development of an interactive tool for the implementation of environmental legislation for nanoparticles manufacturers July 4th, 2014

Research partnerships

Leading European communications companies and research organizations have launched an EU project developing the future 5th Generation cellular mobile networks August 28th, 2014

New technique uses fraction of measurements to efficiently find quantum wave functions August 28th, 2014

The thunder god vine, assisted by nanotechnology, could shake up future cancer treatment: Targeted therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma using nanotechnology August 27th, 2014

Competition for Graphene: Berkeley Lab Researchers Demonstrate Ultrafast Charge Transfer in New Family of 2D Semiconductors August 26th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE