John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Effects of silver nanoparticles (NM‐300K) on Lumbricus rubellus earthworms and particle characterisation in relevant test matrices, including soil

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The impact of silver nanoparticles (AgNP; at 0, 1.5, 15.4 and 154 mg Ag/kg soil) and silver nitrate (AgNO3; 15.4 mg Ag/kg soil) on earthworms, Lumbricus rubellus, was assessed. Four week exposure to the highest AgNP treatment reduced growth and reproduction, compared with the control. AgNO3 exposure also impaired reproduction, but not as much as the highest AgNP treatment. Long‐term exposure to the highest AgNP treatment caused complete juvenile mortality. All AgNP treatments induced tissue pathology. Population modelling demonstrated reduced population growth rates for the AgNP and AgNO3 treatments, and no population growth at the highest AgNP treatment, due to juvenile mortality. Analysis of AgNP treated soil samples revealed that single AgNP and AgNP clusters were present in the soil, and that the total Ag in soil pore water remained high throughout the long‐term experiment. In addition, the immune cells (coelomocytes) of earthworms showed sensitivity to both AgNP and AgNO3 in vitro. Overall, this study indicates that AgNP exposure may affect earthworm populations and that the exposure may be prolonged due to the release of a dissolved Ag fraction to soil pore water. Environ Toxicol Chem 2013;9999:XX–XX. © 2013 SETAC

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