Behavior of gold nanoparticles in an experimental algal-zooplankton food chain

KD Gilroy and S Neretina and RW Sanders, JOURNAL OF NANOPARTICLE RESEARCH, 16, 2414 (2014).

DOI: 10.1007/s11051-014-2414-2

The release of engineered nanomaterials offers a significant concern due to their unexpected behavior in biological systems. In order to establish the level of threat from releasing nanomaterials into ecosystems, simplified food webs are an effective method to determine toxicity and bioassessment. A study is presented examining the behavior of citrate-capped gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) introduced into a model food chain consisting of a phytoplankton food (Ankistrodesmus falcatus) and a zooplankton grazer (Daphnia magna). UV-Vis spectroscopy is used to monitor the behavior of AuNPs in the presence of algae (Ankistrodesmus) and Daphnia over the span of 5 days. Transmission electron microscopy shows the attachment of gold aggregates to the surface of the Ankistrodesmus. Bright field microscopy shows significant accumulation of AuNPs in the gut of Daphnia via uptake of contaminated Ankistrodesmus and directly from water. No toxicity was evident for Daphnia exposed to AuNPs at the concentration used (880 A mu g L-1).

Return to Publications page