Mechanisms of silver nanoparticle toxicity to the coastal marine diatom Chaetoceros curvisetus
Browning, Thomas J.
Achterberg, Eric P.
El-Shahawi, Mohammad S.
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Inputs of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) to marine waters continue to increase yet mechanisms of AgNPs toxicity to marine phytoplankton are still not well resolved. This study reports a series of toxicity experiments on a representative coastal marine diatom species Chaetoceros curvisetus using the reference AgNP, NM-300K. Exposure to AgNPs resulted in photosynthetic impairment and loss of diatom biomass in proportion to the supplied AgNP dose. The underlying mechanism of toxicity was explored via comparing biological responses in parallel experiments. Diatom responses to AgNP, free Ag(I) species, and dialysis bag-retained AgNP treatments showed marked similarity, pointing towards a dominant role of Ag(I) species uptake, rather than NPs themselves, in inducing the toxic response. In marked contrast to previous studies, addition of the organic complexing agent cysteine (Cys) alongside Ag only marginally moderated toxicity, implying AgCys− complexes were bioavailable to this diatom species. A preliminary field experiment with a natural phytoplankton community in the southeast Atlantic Ocean showed no significant toxic response at a NM-300 K concentration that resulted in ~40% biomass loss in the culture studies, suggesting a modulating effect of natural seawaters on Ag toxicity.
Is part ofScientific Reports, 2017, vol. 7, num. 10777
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