Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Ecotoxicity: All clear for silver nanoparticles? Silver gone astray

Silver ions disrupt cellular metabolism in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (photo), inhibiting functions such as photosynthesis.
Silver ions disrupt cellular metabolism in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (photo), inhibiting functions such as photosynthesis.

Abstract:
It has long been known that, in the form of free ions, silver particles can be highly toxic to aquatic organisms. Yet to this day, there is a lack of detailed knowledge about the doses required to trigger a response and how the organisms deal with this kind of stress. To learn more about the cellular processes that occur in the cells, scientists from the Aquatic Research Institute, Eawag, subjected algae to a range of silver concentrations.

Ecotoxicity: All clear for silver nanoparticles? Silver gone astray

Lausanne, Switzerland | Posted on February 25th, 2014

In the past, silver mostly found its way into the environment in the vicinity of silver mines or via wastewater emanating from the photo industry. More recently, silver nanoparticles have become commonplace in many applications - as ingredients in cosmetics, food packaging, disinfectants, and functional clothing. Though a recent study conducted by the Swiss National Science Foundation revealed that the bulk of silver nanoparticles is retained in wastewater treatment plants, only little is known about the persistence and the impact of the residual nano-silver in the environment.
Infiltrating the energy metabolism undercover

Smitha Pillai from the Eawag Department of Environmental Toxicology and her colleagues from EPF Lausanne and ETH Zürich studied the impact of various concentrations of waterborne silver ions on the cells of the green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Silver is chemically very similar to copper, an essential metal due to its importance in several enzymes. Because of that, silver can exploit the cells' copper transport mechanisms and sneak into them undercover. This explains why, already after a short time, concentrations of silver in the intracellular fluid can reach up to one thousand times those in the surrounding environment.

A prompt response

Because silver damages key enzymes involved in energy metabolism, even low concentrations can cut photosynthesis and growth rates by a half in just 15 minutes. Over the same time period, the researchers also detected changes in the activity of about 1000 other genes and proteins, which they interpreted as a response to the stressor - an attempt to repair silver-induced damage. At low concentrations, the cells' photosynthesis apparatus recovered within five hours, and recovery mechanisms were sufficient to deal with all but the highest concentrations tested.

A number of unanswered questions

At first glance, the results are reassuring because the silver concentrations that the algae are subject to in the environment are rarely as high as those applied in the lab, which allows them to recover quickly - at least externally. But the experiments also showed that even low silver concentrations have a significant effect on intracellular processes and that the algae divert their energy to repairing damage incurred. This can pose a problem when other stressors act in parallel, such as increased UV-radiation or other chemical compounds. Moreover, it remains unknown to this day whether the cells have an active mechanism to shuttle out the silver. Lacking such a mechanism, the silver could have adverse effects on higher organisms, given that algae are at the bottom of the food chain.

Text: Stefan Vogel/Andri Bryner

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Dr. Smitha Pillai

+41 58 765 5255

Prof Dr. Kristin Schirmer
(Department Head of Environmental Toxicology)

+41 58 765 5266

Copyright © Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

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 Links

Original article (Freely available online through the PNAS open access option):

Related News Press

News and information

QEOS and GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Offer Industry’s First CMOS Platform for MillimeterWave Markets: GLOBALSOLUTIONSSM Partnership will enable next-generation wireless technologies for applications in IoT, 5G and automotive September 3rd, 2015

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Catena Partner to Provide Next-Generation RF Connectivity Solutions for Growing Wireless Markets: Catena Wi-Fi and Bluetooth RF technologies available on GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28nm Super Low Power Process technology September 3rd, 2015

Making nanowires from protein and DNA September 3rd, 2015

Making fuel from light: Argonne research sheds light on photosynthesis and creation of solar fuel September 3rd, 2015

Discoveries

QEOS and GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Offer Industry’s First CMOS Platform for MillimeterWave Markets: GLOBALSOLUTIONSSM Partnership will enable next-generation wireless technologies for applications in IoT, 5G and automotive September 3rd, 2015

Making nanowires from protein and DNA September 3rd, 2015

Making fuel from light: Argonne research sheds light on photosynthesis and creation of solar fuel September 3rd, 2015

Reversible Writing with Light: Self-assembling nanoparticles take their cues from their surroundings September 3rd, 2015

Announcements

QEOS and GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Offer Industry’s First CMOS Platform for MillimeterWave Markets: GLOBALSOLUTIONSSM Partnership will enable next-generation wireless technologies for applications in IoT, 5G and automotive September 3rd, 2015

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Catena Partner to Provide Next-Generation RF Connectivity Solutions for Growing Wireless Markets: Catena Wi-Fi and Bluetooth RF technologies available on GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28nm Super Low Power Process technology September 3rd, 2015

Making nanowires from protein and DNA September 3rd, 2015

Making fuel from light: Argonne research sheds light on photosynthesis and creation of solar fuel September 3rd, 2015

Environment

Reversible Writing with Light: Self-assembling nanoparticles take their cues from their surroundings September 3rd, 2015

RUSNANOPRIZE Directorate Announces New Deadline for Nominations Submission – September 11, 2015 September 1st, 2015

Successful boron-doping of graphene nanoribbon August 27th, 2015

Iranian Scientists Utilize Nanomembranes to Purify Wastewater of Olive Oil Plants August 20th, 2015

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

Sustainable nanotechnology center September 1st, 2015

$200K Awarded to Develop In Vitro Lung Test for Toxicity of Inhaled Nanomaterials: In Vitro Lung Test Designed to Protect Human Health and Replace Animal Testing September 1st, 2015

Warning to DIY enthusiasts & construction workers as dangerous dust emissions August 19th, 2015

Bionic liver micro-organs explain off-target toxicity of acetaminophen (Tylenol): Israeli-German partnership aims to replace animal experiments with advanced liver-on-chip devices August 17th, 2015

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic