Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Silver nanoparticles may adversely affect environment

28.02.2013
In experiments mimicking a natural environment, Duke University researchers have demonstrated that the silver nanoparticles used in many consumer products can have an adverse effect on plants and microorganisms.

Fifty days after scientists applied a single low dose of silver nanoparticles, the experimental environments produced about a third less biomass in some plants and microbes.

These preliminary findings are important, the researchers said, because little is known about the environmental effects of silver nanoparticles, which are found in textiles, clothing, children's toys and pacifiers, disinfectants and toothpaste.

"No one really knows what the effects of these particles are in the environment," said Benjamin Colman, a post-doctoral fellow in Duke's biology department and a member of the Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT).

"We're trying to come up with the data that can be used to help regulators determine the risks to the environment from silver nanoparticle exposures," Colman said. CEINT's research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency

Previous studies have involved high concentrations of the nanoparticles in a laboratory setting, which the researchers point out, doesn't represent "real-world" conditions.

"Results from laboratory studies are difficult to extrapolate to ecosystems, where exposures likely will be at low concentrations and there is a diversity of organisms," Colman said.

Silver nanoparticles are used in consumer products because they can kill bacteria, inhibiting unwanted odors. They work through a variety of mechanisms, including generating free radicals of oxygen which can cause DNA damage to microbial membranes without harming human cells.

The main route by which these particles enter the environment is as a by-product of sewage treatment plants. The nanoparticles are too small to be filtered out, so they and other materials end up in the resulting wastewater treatment "sludge," which is then spread on the land surface as a fertilizer.

For their studies, the researchers created mesocosms, which are small, man-made structures containing different plants and microorganisms meant to represent the environment. They applied sludge with low doses of silver nanoparticles in some of the mesocosms, then compared plants and microorganisms from treated and untreated mesocosms after 50 days.

The study appeared online Feb. 27 in the journal PLOS One.

The researchers found that one of the plants studied, a common annual grass known as Microstegium vimeneum, had 32 percent less biomass in the mesocosms treated with the nanoparticles. Microbes were also affected by the nanoparticles, Colman said. One enzyme associated with helping microbes deal with external stresses was 52 percent less active, while another enzyme that helps regulate processes within the cell was 27 percent less active. The overall biomass of the microbes was also 35 percent lower, he said.

"Our field studies show adverse responses of plants and microorganisms following a single low dose of silver nanoparticles applied by a sewage biosolid," Colman said. "An estimated 60 percent of the average 5.6 million tons of biosolids produced each year is applied to the land for various reasons, and this practice represents an important and understudied route of exposure of natural ecosystems to engineered nanoparticles."

"Our results show that silver nanoparticles in the biosolids, added at concentrations that would be expected, caused ecosystem-level impacts," Colman said. "Specifically, the nanoparticles led to an increase in nitrous oxide fluxes, changes in microbial community composition, biomass, and extracellular enzyme activity, as well as species-specific effects on the above-ground vegetation."

The researchers plan to continue to study longer-term effects of silver nanoparticles and to examine another ubiquitous nanoparticle – titanium dioxide.

The rest of the team were Duke's Christina Arnaout, Claudia Gunsch, Curtis Richardson, Emily Bernhardt, Bonnie McGill and Justin Wright; Sarah Anciaux of Coe College, Iowa; Michael Hochella and Bojeong Kim of Virginia Tech University; Gregory Lowry and Brian C. Reinsch of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh; Jason Unrine at the University of Kentucky; and Liyan Yin of Wuhan Botanical Garden, China.

Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.duke.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Innovatives Hochleistungsmaterial: Biofasern aus Florfliegenseide

Neuartige Biofasern aus einem Seidenprotein der Florfliege werden am Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP gemeinsam mit der Firma AMSilk GmbH entwickelt. Die Forscher arbeiten daran, das Protein in großen Mengen biotechnologisch herzustellen. Als hochgradig biegesteife Faser soll das Material künftig zum Beispiel in Leichtbaukunststoffen für die Verkehrstechnik eingesetzt werden. Im Bereich Medizintechnik sind beispielsweise biokompatible Seidenbeschichtungen von Implantaten denkbar. Ein erstes Materialmuster präsentiert das Fraunhofer IAP auf der Internationalen Grünen Woche in Berlin vom 20.1. bis 29.1.2017 in Halle 4.2 am Stand 212.

Zum Schutz des Nachwuchses vor bodennahen Fressfeinden lagern Florfliegen ihre Eier auf der Unterseite von Blättern ab – auf der Spitze von stabilen seidenen...

Im Focus: Verkehrsstau im Nichts

Konstanzer Physiker verbuchen neue Erfolge bei der Vermessung des Quanten-Vakuums

An der Universität Konstanz ist ein weiterer bedeutender Schritt hin zu einem völlig neuen experimentellen Zugang zur Quantenphysik gelungen. Das Team um Prof....

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: Textiler Hochwasserschutz erhöht Sicherheit

Wissenschaftler der TU Chemnitz präsentieren im Februar und März 2017 ein neues temporäres System zum Schutz gegen Hochwasser auf Baumessen in Chemnitz und Dresden

Auch die jüngsten Hochwasserereignisse zeigen, dass vielerorts das natürliche Rückhaltepotential von Uferbereichen schnell erschöpft ist und angrenzende...

Im Focus: Wie Darmbakterien krank machen

HZI-Forscher entschlüsseln Infektionsmechanismen von Yersinien und Immunantworten des Wirts

Yersinien verursachen schwere Darminfektionen. Um ihre Infektionsmechanismen besser zu verstehen, werden Studien mit dem Modellorganismus Yersinia...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Mittelstand 4.0 – Mehrwerte durch Digitalisierung: Hintergründe, Beispiele, Lösungen

20.01.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Nachhaltige Wassernutzung in der Landwirtschaft Osteuropas und Zentralasiens

19.01.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Künftige Rohstoffexperten aus aller Welt in Freiberg zur Winterschule

18.01.2017 | Veranstaltungen

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

21.500 Euro für eine grüne Zukunft – Unserer Umwelt zuliebe

20.01.2017 | Unternehmensmeldung

innovations-report im Interview mit Rolf-Dieter Lafrenz, Gründer und Geschäftsführer der Hamburger Start ups Cargonexx

20.01.2017 | Unternehmensmeldung

Niederlande: Intelligente Lösungen für Bahn und Stahlindustrie werden gefördert

20.01.2017 | Förderungen Preise