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Biosynthesis of gold nanoparticles by the living freshwater diatom Eolimna minima, a species developed in river biofilms

Feurtet-Mazel, Agnès, Mornet, Stéphane, Charron, Laëtitia, Mesmer-Dudons, Nathalie, Maury-Brachet, Régine, Baudrimont, Magalie
Environmental science and pollution research international 2016 v.23 no.5 pp. 4334-4339
Bacillariophyceae, animals, biofilm, biosynthesis, biotransformation, food webs, freshwater, freshwater ecosystems, gold, light microscopy, microalgae, nanogold, risk, rivers, salts, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, viability
Testing biotransformation capacities of living aquatic microalgae diatoms to naturally synthetize gold nanoparticles (AuNP) from gold salts and assessing aftereffects on their viability by microscope observations is a great challenge. In this work, a laboratory experiment was conducted, which aimed to observe (i) directly by transmission electronic and light microscopy and (ii) through indirect measurements (UV-visible spectroscopy) the periphytic freshwater diatom Eolimna minima exposed to gold salts. This work revealed the capacity of E. minima to intracellularly biosynthetize AuNP and to tolerate it. AuNP synthesis appears as a mechanism of detoxification to protect diatom from gold salt contamination. We also pointed out the risks associated with the spread of diatoms full of AuNP, through the trophic web of freshwater ecosystems. The preponderant part of the diatoms in natural biofilms associated with their position at the basis of the trophic webs in rivers could then make them responsible for the contamination of their consumers (grazer animals) and consequently for the potential release of AuNP through the entire food web.