Author(s): Judy JD, Unrine JM, Bertsch PM
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Abstract Nanoparticles from the rapidly increasing number of consumer products that contain manufactured nanomaterials are being discharged into waste streams. Increasing evidence suggests that several classes of nanomaterials may accumulate in sludge derived from wastewater treatment and ultimately in soil following land application as biosolids. Little research has been conducted to evaluate the impact of nanoparticles on terrestrial ecosystems, despite the fact that land application of biosolids from wastewater treatment will be a major pathway for the introduction of manufactured nanomaterials to the environment. To begin addressing this knowledge gap, we used the model organisms Nicotiana tabacum L. cv Xanthi and Manduca sexta (tobacco hornworm) to investigate plant uptake and the potential for trophic transfer of 5, 10, and 15 nm diameter gold (Au) nanoparticles (NPs). Samples were analyzed using both bulk analysis by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) as well as spatially resolved methods such as laser ablation inductively coupled mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and X-ray fluorescence (μXRF). Our results demonstrate trophic transfer and biomagnification of gold nanoparticles from a primary producer to a primary consumer by mean factors of 6.2, 11.6, and 9.6 for the 5, 10, and 15 nm treatments, respectively. This result has important implications for risks associated with nanotechnology, including the potential for human exposure.
This article was published in Environ Sci Technol
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals