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Influence of silver nanoparticles on benthic oxygen consumption of microbial communities in freshwater sediments determined by microelectrodes

Miao, Lingzhan, Wang, Chao, Hou, Jun, Wang, Peifang, Ao, Yanhui, Li, Yi, Yao, Yu, Lv, Bowen, Yang, Yangyang, You, Guoxiang, Xu, Yi
Environmental pollution 2017 v.224 pp. 771-778
aerobes, aerobiosis, aquatic environment, bioavailability, fermentation, freshwater, lakes, microbial communities, microorganisms, nanosilver, oxygen, oxygen consumption, sediments, toxicity
The increased use of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) will inevitably result in the release of these particles into aquatic environments, with sediments as a substantial sink. However, we do not know whether AgNPs present potential impacts in sediment functioning. In this study, a microcosm approach was constructed, and the potential impacts of AgNPs and PVP-coated AgNPs on oxygen consumption in freshwater sediments (collected from Taihu Lake) were determined using oxygen microelectrodes. To our knowledge, this is the first time that microelectrodes have been used to estimate the impacts of AgNPs in sediments. The steady-state oxygen microprofiles showed that environmental relevant concentration (1 mg/L nano-Ag) did not lead to an apparent change in the oxygen consumption rates of benthic microbial communities in sediment. The addition of 10 mg/L uncoated AgNPs resulted in remarkable differences in the oxygen concentration profiles within 4–5 h and significantly inhibited the oxygen consumption of benthic microbial communities in the upper sediment layer (∼1 mm) after 100 h. Simultaneously, an increase of oxygen consumption in sediment lower zones was observed. These results may suggest that aerobic microorganisms in the upper layer of the sediment reduced metabolic activity to avoid the toxic stress from AgNPs. Concomitantly, facultative aerobes below the metabolically active upper layer switched from fermentation or anaerobic respiration to aerobic respiration as oxygen bioavailability increased in the lower zones of the sediment. In addition, PVP coating reduced the nanotoxicity of AgNPs in benthic microorganisms due to the decreased dissolution of AgNPs in the filtered overlying water, a phenomenon that merits further investigation.