Due to the widespread use of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), the likelihood of them entering the environment has increased and they are known to be potentially toxic. Currently, there is little information on the dynamic changes of AgNPs in ecotoxicity exposure media and how this may affect toxicity. Here, the colloidal stability of three different sizes of citrate-stabilized AgNPs was assessed in standard strength OECD ISO exposure media, and in 2-fold (media2) and 10-fold (media10) dilutions by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) and these characteristics were related to their toxicity towards Daphnia magna. Aggregation in undiluted media (media1) was rapid, and after diluting the medium by a factor of 2 or 10, aggregation was reduced, with minimal aggregation over 24h occurring in media10. Acute toxicity measurements were performed using 7nm diameter particles in media1 and media10. In media10 the EC of the 7nm particles for D. magna neonates was calculated to be 7.46μgL with upper and lower 95% confidence intervals of 6.84μgL and 8.13μgL respectively. For media1, an EC could not be calculated, the lowest observed adverse effect concentration (LOAEC) of 11.25μgL indicating a significant reduction in toxicity compared to that in media10. The data suggest the increased dispersion of nanoparticles leads to enhanced toxicity, emphasising the importance of appropriate media composition to fully assess nanoparticle toxicity in aquatic ecotoxicity tests.
- Daphnia magna
- Silver nanoparticles