Long-term transformation and fate of manufactured ag nanoparticles in a simulated large scale freshwater emergent wetland.


Transformations and long-term fate of engineered nanomaterials must be measured in realistic complex natural systems to accurately assess the risks that they may pose. Here, we determine the long-term behavior of poly(vinylpyrrolidone)-coated silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in freshwater mesocosms simulating an emergent wetland environment. AgNPs were either applied to the water column or to the terrestrial soils. The distribution of silver among water, solids, and biota, and Ag speciation in soils and sediment was determined 18 months after dosing. Most (70 wt %) of the added Ag resided in the soils and sediments, and largely remained in the compartment in which they were dosed. However, some movement between soil and sediment was observed. Movement of AgNPs from terrestrial soils to sediments was more facile than from sediments to soils, suggesting that erosion and runoff is a potential pathway for AgNPs to enter waterways. The AgNPs in terrestrial soils were transformed to Ag(2)S (~52%), whereas AgNPs in the subaquatic sediment were present as Ag(2)S (55%) and Ag-sulfhydryl compounds (27%). Despite significant sulfidation of the AgNPs, a fraction of the added Ag resided in the terrestrial plant biomass (~3 wt % for the terrestrially dosed mesocosm), and relatively high body burdens of Ag (0.5-3.3 μg Ag/g wet weight) were found in mosquito fish and chironomids in both mesocosms. Thus, Ag from the NPs remained bioavailable even after partial sulfidation and when water column total Ag concentrations are low (<0.002 mg/L).





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Publication Info

Lowry, GV, BP Espinasse, AR Badireddy, CJ Richardson, BC Reinsch, LD Bryant, AJ Bone, A Deonarine, et al. (2012). Long-term transformation and fate of manufactured ag nanoparticles in a simulated large scale freshwater emergent wetland. Environ Sci Technol, 46(13). pp. 7027–7036. 10.1021/es204608d Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/15715.

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Curtis J. Richardson

Research Professor of Resource Ecology in the Division of Environmental Science and Policy

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 phosphorus nutrient dynamics in wetlands and the effects of environmental stress on plant communities and ecosystem functions and services. The objectives of his research are to utilize ecological principles to develop new approaches to environmental problem solving. The goal of his research is to provide predictive models and approaches to aid in the management of ecosystems.

Recent research activities: 1) wetland restoration of plant communities and its effects on regional water quality and nutrient biogeochemical cycles, 2) the development of ecosystem metrics as indices of wetland restoration success, 3) the effects of nanomaterial on wetland and stream ecosystem processes, 4) the development of ecological thresholds along environmental gradients, 5) wetland development trends and restoration in coastal southeastern United States, 6) the development of an outdoor wetland and stream research and teaching laboratory on Duke Forest, 7) differential nutrient limitation (DNL) as a mechanism to overcome N or P limitations across trophic levels in wetland ecosystems, and 8) carbon sequestration in coastal North Carolina pocosins.

Richardson oversees the main analytical lab in NSOE, which is open to students and faculty. Dr. Richardson has been listed in Who's Who in Science™ annually since 1989 and was elected President of the Society of Wetland Scientists in 1987-88. He has served on many editorial review committees for peer-reviewed scientific journals, and he is a past Chair of the Nicholas School Division of Environmental Sciences and Policy. Dr. Richardson is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society of Wetland Scientists, and the Soil Science Society of America.


Emily S. Bernhardt

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor

Emily Bernhardt is an ecosystem ecologist and biogeochemist whose research is principally concerned with tracking the movement of elements through ecological systems. Dr. Bernhardt's 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 mitigated or prevented through active ecosystem management.


Mark Wiesner

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Wiesner's research interests include membrane processes, nanostructured materials, transport and fate of nanomaterials in the environment, nano plastics, colloidal and interfacial processes, and environmental systems analysis.

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