Scientists investigating the toxicity of silver nanoparticles have concluded that harmful effects are linked to the release of silver ions and surface coatings, following experiments on the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans.
The researchers examined the mechanisms of toxicity of differentially coated and sized silver nanoparticles using pharmacological, genetic and physicochemical methods. They found a correlation between nanoparticle toxicity and levels of dissolved silver, but no correlation between size of the nanoparticle and toxicity, measured as growth inhibition of the worm. They also found a critical role for dissolved silver compounds in causing toxicity, in addition to the process of oxidative stress which is caused by the nanoparticles themselves. However, the researchers highlight that the toxicity of a silver nanoparticle did not exceed that predicted to results from the same mass of silver as silver ions.
The research is published in Environmental Science and Technology.
Fonte: Chemical Watch