Quantifying the Sensitivity of Soil Microbial Communities to Silver Sulfide Nanoparticles Using Metagenome Sequencing.
ABSTRACT: Soils are a sink for sulfidised-silver nanoparticles (Ag2S-NPs), yet there are limited ecotoxicity data for their effects on microbial communities. Conventional toxicity tests typically target a single test species or function, which does not reflect the broader community response. Using a combination of quantitative PCR, 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing and species sensitivity distribution (SSD) methods, we have developed a new approach to calculate silver-based NP toxicity thresholds (HCx, hazardous concentrations) that are protective of specific members (operational taxonomic units, OTUs) of the soil microbial community. At the HC20 (80% of species protected), soil OTUs were significantly less sensitive to Ag2S-NPs compared to AgNPs and Ag+ (5.9, 1.4 and 1.4 mg Ag kg-1, respectively). However at more conservative HC values, there were no significant differences. These trends in OTU responses matched with those seen in a specific microbial function (rate of nitrification) and amoA-bacteria gene abundance. This study provides a novel molecular-based framework for quantifying the effect of a toxicant on whole soil microbial communities while still determining sensitive genera/species. Methods and results described here provide a benchmark for microbial community ecotoxicological studies and we recommend that future revisions of Soil Quality Guidelines for AgNPs and other such toxicants consider this approach.
Project description:The increasing commercial production of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) has led to concerns over the potential adverse impacts of these ENPs on biota in natural environments. Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are one of the most widely used ENPs and are expected to enter natural ecosystems. Here we examined the effects of AgNPs on germination and growth of eleven species of common wetland plants. We examined plant responses to AgNP exposure in simple pure culture experiments (direct exposure) and for seeds planted in homogenized field soils in a greenhouse experiment (soil exposure). We compared the effects of two AgNPs-20-nm polyvinylpyrrolidine-coated silver nanoparticles (PVP-AgNPs) and 6-nm gum arabic coated silver nanoparticles (GA-AgNPs)-to the effects of AgNO(3) exposure added at equivalent Ag concentrations (1, 10 or 40 mg Ag L(-1)). In the direct exposure experiments, PVP-AgNP had no effect on germination while 40 mg Ag L(-1) GA-AgNP exposure significantly reduced the germination rate of three species and enhanced the germination rate of one species. In contrast, 40 mg Ag L(-1) AgNO(3) enhanced the germination rate of five species. In general root growth was much more affected by Ag exposure than was leaf growth. The magnitude of inhibition was always greater for GA-AgNPs than for AgNO(3) and PVP-AgNPs. In the soil exposure experiment, germination effects were less pronounced. The plant growth response differed by taxa with Lolium multiflorum growing more rapidly under both AgNO(3) and GA-AgNP exposures and all other taxa having significantly reduced growth under GA-AgNP exposure. AgNO(3) did not reduce the growth of any species while PVP-AgNPs significantly inhibited the growth of only one species. Our findings suggest important new avenues of research for understanding the fate and transport of NPs in natural media, the interactions between NPs and plants, and indirect and direct effects of NPs in mixed plant communities.
Project description:Understanding the mode of action of nanomaterials (NMs) aids in improving predictions and environmental risk assessment. In the present study, a high-throughput (HTP) microarray was used to study Enchytraeus crypticus gene expression. Four Ag materials (Ag NM300K, PVP-coated AgNPs, AgNPs, and AgNO3) were tested at reproduction effect concentrations, EC20 and EC50, to anchor gene expression responses to higher effect level. The results showed that while PVP-AgNPs and AgNPs had similar responses, Ag NM300K caused effects via a differentiated transcriptomic profile, with uniquely affected processes (e.g. transcytosis). For the AgNPs, the EC50 negatively affected apoptosis, which can lead to accumulation of abnormal cells and cause apical damage (reproduction). Mechanisms which are known to be related to Ag toxicity and which were observed here for the various Ag forms included apoptosis regulation, cell redox homeostasis, impairment of energy production and response to DNA damage. This HTP genomic tool enabled discrimination between Ag materials, which is not possible via standard tests (i.e. survival and reproduction endpoints). Moreover, gene expression analysis provided information regarding the mechanisms of toxicity of NMs and the pathways uniquely affected by NMs. An adverse outcome pathway (AOP) was drafted for the first time for Ag NMs; this AOP can and should be used as a basis for further research. Overall design: Gene expression profile of Enchytraeus crypticus was analysed after 3 and 7 days of exposure to the EC20 and EC50 (effect concentrations on reproduction) of three silver nanomaterials (Ag-NPs PVP-Coated, Ag-NPs Non-Coated and Ag NM300K) and silver salt (AgNO3) in LUFA 2.2 soil. Three biological replicates per test treatment and controls (un-spiked LUFA soil for AgNO3, Ag-NPs PVP-Coated and Ag-NPs Non-Coated; and LUFA soil mixed with the NM300K dispersants _tween 20 for the Ag NM300K) were used.
Project description:Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) affect microbial metabolic processes at single cell level or lab-culture strains. However, the impact of different AgNPs properties such as the particle, ion release, and shape on functional responses of natural soil microbial communities remain poorly understood. Therefore, we assessed the relative importance of particles and ions of AgNPs in bacterial toxicity and how the functional diversity of soil microbial communities were impacted by AgNPs shapes (i.e., plates, spheres, and rods) in laboratory incubations. Our results showed that the relative contribution of AgNPs(particle) increased with increasing exposure concentrations (accounted for about 60-68% of the total toxicity at the highest exposure level). In addition, the functional composition of the microbial community differed significantly according to different AgNPs shapes. The various properties of AgNPs thus can significantly and differentially affect the functional composition of microbial communities and associated ecosystem processes depending on the level of environmental exposure.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are used extensively in various consumer products because of their antimicrobial potential. This requires insight in their potential hazards and risks including adverse effects during pregnancy on the developing fetus. Using a combination of the BeWo b30 placental transport model and the mouse embryonic stem cell test (EST), we investigated the capability of pristine AgNPs with different surface chemistries and aged AgNPs (silver sulfide (Ag2S) NPs) to cross the placental barrier and induce developmental toxicity. The uptake/association and transport of AgNPs through the BeWo b30 was characterized using ICP-MS and single particle (sp)ICP-MS at different time points. The developmental toxicity of the AgNPs was investigated by characterizing their potential to inhibit the differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) into beating cardiomyocytes. RESULTS:The AgNPs are able to cross the BeWo b30 cell layer to a level that was limited and dependent on their surface chemistry. In the EST, no in vitro developmental toxicity was observed as the effects on differentiation of the mESCs were only detected at cytotoxic concentrations. The aged AgNPs were significantly less cytotoxic, less bioavailable and did not induce developmental toxicity. CONCLUSIONS:Pristine AgNPs are capable to cross the placental barrier to an extent that is influenced by their surface chemistry and that this transport is likely low but not negligible. Next to that, the tested AgNPs have low intrinsic potencies for developmental toxicity. The combination of the BeWo b30 model with the EST is of added value in developmental toxicity screening and prioritization of AgNPs.
Project description:Silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) are used in a wide range of everyday products, leading to increasing concerns regarding their accumulation in soils and subsequent impact on plants. Using single particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (spICP-MS) and synchrotron-based techniques including X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM), we characterized the uptake, speciation, and translocation of insoluble Ag2S-NPs (an environmentally-relevant form of Ag-NPs in soils) within two plant species, a monocot and a dicot. Exposure to 10 mg Ag L-1 as Ag2S-NPs for one week resulted in a substantial increase in leaf Ag concentrations (3.8 to 5.8 ?g Ag g-1 dry mass). Examination using XAS revealed that most of the Ag was present as Ag2S (>91%). Furthermore, analyses using spICP-MS confirmed that these Ag2S particles within the leaves had a markedly similar size distribution to those supplied within the hydroponic solution. These observations, for the first time, provide direct evidence that plants take up Ag2S-NPs without a marked selectivity in regard to particle size and without substantial transformation (dissolution or aggregation) during translocation from roots to shoots. Furthermore, after uptake, these Ag2S-NPs reduced growth, partially due to the solubilisation of Ag+ in planta, which resulted in an upregulation of genes involved in the ethylene signalling pathway. Additionally, the upregulation of the plant defense system as a result of Ag2S-NPs exposure may have contributed to the decrease in plant growth. These results highlight the risks associated with Ag-NP accumulation in plants and subsequent trophic transfer via the food chain.
Project description:Silver nanoparticles (AgNP) are known to penetrate into the brain and cause neuronal death. However, there is a paucity in studies examining the effect of AgNP on the resident immune cells of the brain, microglia. Given microglia are implicated in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD), it is important to examine how AgNPs affect microglial inflammation to fully assess AgNP neurotoxicity. In addition, understanding AgNP processing by microglia will allow better prediction of their long term bioreactivity. In the present study, the in vitro uptake and intracellular transformation of citrate-capped AgNPs by microglia, as well as their effects on microglial inflammation and related neurotoxicity were examined. Analytical microscopy demonstrated internalization and dissolution of AgNPs within microglia and formation of non-reactive silver sulphide (Ag2S) on the surface of AgNPs. Furthermore, AgNP-treatment up-regulated microglial expression of the hydrogen sulphide (H2S)-synthesizing enzyme cystathionine-?-lyase (CSE). In addition, AgNPs showed significant anti-inflammatory effects, reducing lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated ROS, nitric oxide and TNF? production, which translated into reduced microglial toxicity towards dopaminergic neurons. Hence, the present results indicate that intracellular Ag2S formation, resulting from CSE-mediated H2S production in microglia, sequesters Ag+ ions released from AgNPs, significantly limiting their toxicity, concomitantly reducing microglial inflammation and related neurotoxicity.
Project description:Nanomaterials are highly dynamic in biological and environmental media. A critical need for advancing environmental health and safety research for nanomaterials is to identify physical and chemical transformations that affect the nanomaterial properties and their toxicity. Silver nanoparticles, one of the most toxic and well-studied nanomaterials, readily react with sulfide to form Ag(0)/Ag2S core-shell particles. Here, we show that sulfidation decreased silver nanoparticle toxicity to four diverse types of aquatic and terrestrial eukaryotic organisms (Danio rerio (zebrafish), Fundulus heteroclitus (killifish), Caenorhabditis elegans (nematode worm), and the aquatic plant Lemna minuta (least duckweed)). Toxicity reduction, which was dramatic in killifish and duckweed even for low extents of sulfidation (about 2 mol % S), is primarily associated with a decrease in Ag(+) concentration after sulfidation due to the lower solubility of Ag2S relative to elemental Ag (Ag(0)). These results suggest that even partial sulfidation of AgNP will decrease the toxicity of AgNPs relative to their pristine counterparts. We also show that, for a given organism, the presence of chloride in the exposure media strongly affects the toxicity results by affecting Ag speciation. These results highlight the need to consider environmental transformations of NPs in assessing their toxicity to accurately portray their potential environmental risks.
Project description:A large fraction of engineered nanomaterials in consumer and commercial products will reach natural ecosystems. To date, research on the biological impacts of environmental nanomaterial exposures has largely focused on high-concentration exposures in mechanistic lab studies with single strains of model organisms. These results are difficult to extrapolate to ecosystems, where exposures will likely be at low-concentrations and which are inhabited by a diversity of organisms. Here we show adverse responses of plants and microorganisms in a replicated long-term terrestrial mesocosm field experiment following a single low dose of silver nanoparticles (0.14 mg Ag kg(-1) soil) applied via a likely route of exposure, sewage biosolid application. While total aboveground plant biomass did not differ between treatments receiving biosolids, one plant species, Microstegium vimeneum, had 32 % less biomass in the Slurry+AgNP treatment relative to the Slurry only treatment. Microorganisms were also affected by AgNP treatment, which gave a significantly different community composition of bacteria in the Slurry+AgNPs as opposed to the Slurry treatment one day after addition as analyzed by T-RFLP analysis of 16S-rRNA genes. After eight days, N2O flux was 4.5 fold higher in the Slurry+AgNPs treatment than the Slurry treatment. After fifty days, community composition and N2O flux of the Slurry+AgNPs treatment converged with the Slurry. However, the soil microbial extracellular enzymes leucine amino peptidase and phosphatase had 52 and 27% lower activities, respectively, while microbial biomass was 35% lower than the Slurry. We also show that the magnitude of these responses was in all cases as large as or larger than the positive control, AgNO3, added at 4-fold the Ag concentration of the silver nanoparticles.
Project description:Silver nanowires (AgNWs) are being developed for use in optoelectronics. However before widespread usage, it is crucial to determine their potential effects on human health. It is accepted that Ag nanoparticles (AgNPs) exert toxic effects by releasing Ag(+) ions, but much less is known about whether Ag(+) reacts with compounds, or any downstream bioactive effects of transformed AgNPs. Analytical high-resolution transmission electron microscopy has been employed to elucidate cellular uptake and reactivity of AgNWs inside human alveolar epithelial type 1-like cells. AgNWs were observed in the cytoplasm and membrane-bound vesicles, and precipitation of Ag2S within the cell occurred after 1 h exposure. Cell viability studies showed no evidence of cytotoxicity and reactive oxygen species were not observed on exposure of cells to AgNWs. We suggest that Ag2S formation acts as a 'trap' for free Ag(+), significantly limiting short-term toxicological effects - with important consequences for the safety of Ag-nanomaterials to human health.
Project description:There is increasing interest in the environmental fate and effects of engineered nanomaterials due to their ubiquitous use in consumer products. In particular, given the mounting evidence that dramatic transformations can occur to a nanomaterial throughout its product lifecycle, the appropriateness of using pristine nanomaterials in environmental testing is being questioned. Using a combination of transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), this work examines the morphological and compositional effects of conditions mimicking a typical lifecycle of a nano-enabled product, from the production of the silver nanoparticle (AgNP)-laden textiles, through its use, laundering, and then finally, its leaching and incubation in the wastewater collection system. These simulated weathering conditions showed evidence for the transformation of AgNPs into AgCl and Ag2S. Incubation in raw wastewater had the most dramatic effect on the AgNPs in terms of transformation, no matter what initial weathering was applied to the NPs prior to incubation. However, despite extensive transformation noted, AgNPs were still present within all the samples after the use scenarios.