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Although silver nanoparticles (NPs) are increasingly used in various consumer products and produced in industrial scale, information on harmful effects of nanosilver to environmentally relevant organisms is still scarce. This paper studies the adverse effects of silver NPs to two aquatic crustaceans, Daphnia magna and Thamnocephalus platyurus. For that, silver NPs were synthesized where Ag is covalently attached to poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP). In parallel, the toxicity of collargol (protein-coated nanosilver) and AgNO3 was analyzed. Both types of silver NPs were highly toxic to both crustaceans: the EC50 values in artificial freshwater were 15-17 ppb for D. magna and 20-27 ppb for T. platyurus.
The natural water (five different waters with dissolved organic carbon from 5 to 35 mg C/L were studied) mitigated the toxic effect of studied silver compounds up to 8-fold compared with artificial freshwater. The toxicity of silver NPs in all test media was up to 10-fold lower than that of soluble silver salt, AgNO3. The pattern of the toxic response of both crustacean species to the silver compounds was almost similar in artificial freshwater and in natural waters. The chronic 21-day toxicity of silver NPs to D. magna in natural water was at the part-per-billion level, and adult mortality was more sensitive toxicity test endpoint than the reproduction (the number of offspring per adult).
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