The growing use of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) has created concerns about its potential impacts on natural microbial communities. In this study, the physicochemical properties of AgNPs and its toxicity on natural bacteria Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) were investigated in aqueous conditions. The characterization data showed that AgNPs highly aggregated in aqueous conditions, and the hydrodynamic diameter of AgNPs in aqueous conditions was larger than its primary size. The studied AgNPs was less toxic to B. subtilis in estuarine water as compared to that in Milli-Q water and artificial seawater, which might be due to the observed enhanced aggregation of AgNPs in estuarine water. The toxicity of AgNPs to B. subtilis was greatly reduced when their surface contact was blocked by a dialysis membrane. Scanning electron microscope images showed that exposure contact to AgNPs resulted in damage of the microbial cell wall and enhanced formation of fibrillar structures. These results suggest that particle-cell contact is largely responsible for the observed toxicity of AgNPs in B. subtilis. This study can help to understand the potential impacts of AgNPs to natural microbes, especially in the complex aquatic environments. Copyright © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
CitationYi, J., & Cheng, J. (2017). Effects of water chemistry and surface contact on the toxicity of silver nanoparticles to Bacillus subtilis. Ecotoxicology, 26(5), 639-647. doi: 10.1007/s10646-017-1796-1
- Silver nanoparticles
- Bacillus subtilis
- Aqueous conditions
- Particle-cell contact