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Environ Pollut. 2009 May;157(5):1619-25. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2008.12.025. Epub 2009 Jan 30.

Bacterial toxicity comparison between nano- and micro-scaled oxide particles.

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Department of Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge Hall, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.


Toxicity of nano-scaled aluminum, silicon, titanium and zinc oxides to bacteria (Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas fluorescens) was examined and compared to that of their respective bulk (micro-scaled) counterparts. All nanoparticles but titanium oxide showed higher toxicity (at 20 mg/L) than their bulk counterparts. Toxicity of released metal ions was differentiated from that of the oxide particles. ZnO was the most toxic among the three nanoparticles, causing 100% mortality to the three tested bacteria. Al(2)O(3) nanoparticles had a mortality rate of 57% to B. subtilis, 36% to E. coli, and 70% to P. fluorescens. SiO(2) nanoparticles killed 40% of B. subtilis, 58% of E. coli, and 70% of P. fluorescens. TEM images showed attachment of nanoparticles to the bacteria, suggesting that the toxicity was affected by bacterial attachment. Bacterial responses to nanoparticles were different from their bulk counterparts; hence nanoparticle toxicity mechanisms need to be studied thoroughly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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