Effect of natural organic matter on dissolution and toxicity of sulfidized silver nanoparticles to Caenorhabditis elegans†
The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effect of natural organic matter (NOM) on the dissolution and the toxicity of sulfidized AgNPs (sAgNPs) to a model soil organism, Caenorhabditis elegans in two distinct exposure media. This study demonstrated that the aggregation and dissolution of sAgNPs (75% Ag2S) was influenced by media composition, including inorganic composition and natural organic matter (NOM) concentration. Dissolution of sAgNPs was low (∼0.5%) but increased over time in all tested media (2 weeks). The presence of NOM either inhibited or enhanced Ag dissolution. Pony lake fulvic acid increased while Suwanee river and Pahokee peat fulvic acid (PLFA) decreased release of dissolved Ag from sAgNPs. Mortality of C. elegans exposed to sAgNPs was influenced by the inorganic composition of the media: with LC50 values of 8.15 mg Ag L−1 and >15 mg Ag L−1 in moderately hard reconstituted water and soil solution pore water. Toxicity was totally rescued by the presence of all tested NOM types and concentrations, despite the increase of dissolved Ag in the media with PLFA. Overall, these results showed that the toxicity induced by a partly sulfidized AgNPs in C. elegans is low and negligible in the presence of NOM regardless of NOM influence on dissolution.