Silver nanoparticles

Lyra Nara Blog

Ecotoxicity: All clear for silver nanoparticles?

Silver ions disrupt cellular metabolism in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (photo), inhibiting functions such as photosynthesis. Credit: Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

It has long been known that, in the form of free ions, silver particles can be highly toxic to aquatic organisms. Yet to this day, there is a lack of detailed knowledge about the doses required to trigger a response and how the organisms deal with this kind of stress. To learn more about the cellular processes that occur in the cells, scientists from the Aquatic Research Institute, Eawag, subjected algae to a range of silver concentrations.

In the past, silver mostly found its way into the environment in the vicinity of silver mines or via wastewater emanating from the photo industry. More recently, silver nanoparticles have become common place in many applications – as ingredients in cosmetics, food packaging, disinfectants, and functional clothing. Though a recent…

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