John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Physiological analysis of silver nanoparticles and AgNO3 toxicity to Spirodela polyrhiza

Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are commonly used in consumer products for their antibacterial activity. Silver nanoparticles may adversely influence organisms when released into the environment. The present study investigated the effect of AgNPs on the growth, morphology, and physiology of the aquatic plant duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza). The toxicity of AgNPs and AgNO3 was also compared. The results showed that silver content in plant tissue increased significantly with higher concentrations of AgNPs and AgNO3. Silver nanoparticles and AgNO3 significantly decreased plant biomass, caused colonies of S. polyrhiza to disintegrate, and also resulted in root abscission. Physiological analysis showed that AgNPs and AgNO3 significantly decreased plant tissue nitrate–nitrogen content, chlorophyll a (Chl a) content, chlorophyll a/b (Chl a/b), and chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm). Changes in soluble carbohydrate and proline content were also detected after both AgNO3 and AgNPs treatment. However, after 192 h of recovery, total chlorophyll content increased, and Fv/Fm returned to control level. Median effective concentration (EC50) values for Chl a and phosphate content showed that AgNO3 was more toxic than AgNPs (EC50 values: 16.10 ± 0.75 vs 7.96 ± 0.81, and 17.33 ± 4.47 vs 9.14 ± 2.89 mg Ag L−1, respectively), whereas dry‐weight EC50 values showed that AgNPs were more toxic than AgNO3 (13.39 ± 1.06 vs 17.67 ± 1.16 mg Ag L−1). Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2012 SETAC

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