John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Effect of light on toxicity of nanosilver to Tetrahymena pyriformis

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More and more silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have been released into the aquatic environment due to their widespread use, which may result in harmful effects on aquatic organisms. Environmental risk assessments of AgNPs on aquatic organisms in the natural environment (including light, sound, etc.) are indispensable. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the influence of light on the toxicity of AgNPs to Tetrahymena pyriformis. Silver nanoparticles, which were synthesized by reduction of silver nitrate with sodium borohydride, ranged in size from 5 to 20 nm with most particles approximately 10 nm. The authors performed AgNPs toxicity assays under a simulated natural environment with sunlight. The results indicated that the toxicity of AgNPs is higher than silver ion in the environment without light, but under the light condition, the toxicity of AgNPs decreased greatly. After 24 h of incubation with AgNPs, the inhibition ratio was 69.2 ± 7% in the dark and 35.5 ± 2% in the light, and the degree of inhibition was reduced by 33.7%. However, the effect of light on Ag+ could be negligible. Further investigation indicated that the light irradiation could induce the growth of AgNPs and sequentially form bulk agglomeration. This decreased the surface area and the number of bare Ag atoms, resulting in a slower release rate and less Ag+ ions released from AgNPs. At the same time, bulk agglomeration induced the deposition of part of the AgNPs to the aquatic bottom, which decreased the amount of AgNPs existing in water. All these phenomena led to the weakened toxicity of AgNPs in a light irradiation environment. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2012 SETAC

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