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2013 | 1 | 48-57
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Toxicity and stability of silver nanoparticles to the green algaPseudokirchneriella subcapitatain boreal freshwater samples and growth media

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The toxicity of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) to green alga Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata was evaluated in standard nutrient medium (ISO 8692), lake water samples from an oligotrophic and an eutrophic lake, and in lake waters supplemented with the standard nutrient medium. Prior to toxicity testing the agglomeration of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and starch-coated AgNPs was studied in each test medium. Agglomeration was studied by determining the hydrodynamic diameter (HDD). The HDDs for the PVP- and starch-capped AgNP dispersions in deionized water were 40 and 175 nm respectively, indicating the presence of agglomerates. The HDDs of AgNPs remained stable throughout the exposure time in all media used for the toxicity tests. The algae growth inhibition test was performed as a microplate modification of the ISO method using fluorescence detection. The effect of concentration at a 50% inhibition value for PVPcoated AgNPs in standard medium was 115 ± 3 μg/L, and for starchcoated AgNPs 51 ± 32 μg/L. The eutrophic freshwater conditions suppressed the toxicity of the PVP- coated AgNPs, but not the starchcoated NPs. This finding emphasizes the importance of using different AgNPs and natural waters in assessing the environmental risks of silver nanoparticles.

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  • Finnish Environment Institute,
    Laboratory centre, P.O. Box 140,
    FI-00251 Helsinki, Finland
  • Finnish Environment Institute,
    Laboratory centre, P.O. Box 140,
    FI-00251 Helsinki, Finland
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