Sunlight-driven reduction of silver ion to silver nanoparticle by organic matter mitigates the acute toxicity of silver to Daphnia magna.J Environ Sci (China). 2015 Sep 01; 35:62-68.JE
Due to the unique antibacterial activities, silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have been extensively used in commercial products. Anthropogenic activities have released considerable AgNPs as well as highly toxic silver ion (Ag(+)) into the aquatic environment. Our recent study revealed that ubiquitous natural organic matter (NOM) could reduce Ag(+) to AgNP under natural sunlight. However, the toxic effect of this process is not well understood. In this work, we prepared mixture solution of Ag(+) and AgNPs with varied Ag(+)% through the sunlight-driven reduction of Ag(+) by NOM and investigated the acute toxicity of the solutions on Daphnia magna. Formation of AgNPs was demonstrated and characterized by comprehensive techniques and the fraction of unconverted Ag(+) was determined by ultrafiltration-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry determination. The formation of AgNPs enhanced significantly with the increasing of solution pH and cumulative photosynthetically active radiation of sunlight. The toxicity of the resulting solution was further investigated by using freshwater crustacean D. magna as a model and an 8hr-median lethal concentration (LC50) demonstrated that the reduction of Ag(+) by NOM to AgNPs significantly mitigated the acute toxicity of silver. These results highlight the importance of sunlight and NOM in the fate, transformation and toxicity of Ag(+) and AgNPs, and further indicate that the acute toxicity of AgNPs should be mainly ascribed to the dissolved Ag(+) from AgNPs.