John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Effect of gold nanoparticles and ciprofloxacin on microbial catabolism: A community‐based approach

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The effect of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and ciprofloxacin on the catabolism of microbial communities was assessed. This was accomplished through an ex‐situ methodology designed to give a priori knowledge on the potential for NPs, or other emerging contaminants, to affect the catabolic capabilities of microbial communities in the environment. Microbial communities from a variety of sources were incubated with 31 pre‐specified carbon sources and either National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reference material 10 nm AuNPs, or ciprofloxacin on 96 well microtiter plates. From the ciprofloxacin study, dose response curves were generated and exemplified how this method can be used to assess the effect of a toxicant on overall catabolic capabilities of microbial communities. When adding 10 nm AuNPs at concentrations ranging from 0.01 to 0.5 µg/mL, rhizosphere communities from Typha roots were only slightly catabolically inhibited at a single concentration (0.05 µg/mL), no effects were seen on wetland water communities, and a minor positive (i.e. enhanced catabolic capabilities) effect was observed for loamy soil communities. This positive effect may have been due to a thin layer of citrate found on these AuNPs which initiated co‐metabolism with some of the carbon sources studied. Based upon the conditions considered the possible adverse effects of AuNPs on the catabolic capabilities of microbial communities appears to be minimal. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2013 SETAC

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