Emerging contaminant or an old toxin in disguise? Silver nanoparticle impacts on ecosystems.
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The use of antimicrobial silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in consumer-products is rising. Much of these AgNPs are expected to enter the wastewater stream, with up to 10% of that eventually released as effluent into aquatic ecosystems with unknown ecological consequences. We examined AgNP impacts on aquatic ecosystems by comparing the effects of two AgNP sizes (12 and 49 nm) to ionic silver (Ag(+); added as AgNO3), a historically problematic contaminant with known impacts. Using 19 wetland mesocosms, we added Ag to the 360 L aquatic compartment to reach 2.5 mg Ag L(-1). Silver treatments and two coating controls were done in triplicate, and compared to four replicate controls. All three silver treatments were toxic to aquatic plants, leading to a significant release of dissolved organic carbon and chloride following exposure. Simultaneously, dissolved methane concentrations increased forty-fold relative to controls in all three Ag treatments. Despite dramatic toxicity differences observed in lab studies for these three forms of Ag, our results show surprising convergence in the direction, magnitude, and duration of ecosystem-scale impacts for all Ag treatments. Our results suggest that all forms of Ag changed solute chemistry driving transformations of Ag which then altered Ag impacts.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1021/es405454v
Publication InfoBernhardt, Emily S; Colman, Ben; Espinasse, Benjamin; Hunt, Dana E; Lowry, Gina; Matson, Cole W; ... Wiesner, Mark (2014). Emerging contaminant or an old toxin in disguise? Silver nanoparticle impacts on ecosystems. Environ Sci Technol, 48(9). pp. 5229-5236. 10.1021/es405454v. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/15708.
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James B. Duke Professor
I am an ecosystem ecologist and biogeochemist whose research is principally concerned with tracking the movement of elements through ecological systems. My research aims to document the extent to which the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems is being altered by land use change (urbanization, agriculture, mining) global change (rising CO2, rising sea levels) and chemical pollution. Ultimately this information is necessary to determine whether and how ecosystem change can be mi
Associate Professor of Microbial Ecology
My research focus is on understanding the ecology of microbes through examination of their genes and lifestyles. Bacteria are the most diverse organisms on earth and play a pivotal role in planetary cycling of nutrients and energy. Yet, we have a poor understanding of the factors that drive their diversity and dynamics in the environment. The lab's emphasis is on studying bacterial interactions with the environment at the appropriate temporal and spatial scale including the effect of temperat
John O. Blackburn Professor
Curtis J. Richardson is Professor of Resource Ecology and founding Director of the Duke University Wetland Center in the Nicholas School of the Environment. Dr. Richardson earned his degrees from the State University of New York and the University of Tennessee. His research interests in applied ecology focus on long-term ecosystem response to large-scale perturbations such as climate change, toxic materials, trace metals, flooding, or nutrient additions. He has specific interests in phosphor
James B. Duke Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Wiesner's research interests include membrane processes, nanostructured materials, transport and fate of nanomaterials in the environment, colloidal and interfacial processes, and environmental systems analysis.
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