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Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Sep 17;47(18):10223-30. doi: 10.1021/es4020508. Epub 2013 Aug 28.

Abiotic and biotic factors that influence the bioavailability of gold nanoparticles to aquatic macrophytes.

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Clemson Institute of Environmental Toxicology, Clemson University , Clemson, South Carolina, 29634 United States.


This research identified and characterized factors that influenced nanomaterial bioavailability to three aquatic plants: Azolla caroliniana Willd, Egeria densa Planch., and Myriophyllum simulans Orch. Plants were exposed to 4-, 18-, and 30-nm gold nanoparticles. Uptake was influenced by nanoparticle size, the presence of roots on the plant, and dissolved organic carbon in the media. Statistical analysis of the data also revealed that particle uptake was influenced by a 4-way (plant species, plant roots, particle size, and dissolved organic carbon) interaction suggesting nanoparticle bioavailability was a complex result of multiple parameters. Size and species dependent absorption was observed that was dependent on the presence of roots and nanoparticle size. The presence of dissolved organic carbon was found to associate with 4- and 18-nm gold nanoparticles in suspension and form a nanoparticle/organic matter complex that resulted in (1) minimized particle aggregation and (2) a decrease of nanoparticle absorption by the aquatic plants. The same effect was not observed with the 30-nm nanoparticle treatment. These results indicate that multiple factors, both biotic and abiotic, must be taken into account when predicting bioavailability of nanomaterials to aquatic plants.

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