Natural marine bacteria as model organisms for the hazard-assessment of consumer products containing silver nanoparticles

Virginia Echavarri Bravo, Lynn Paterson, Thomas John Aspray, Joanne Porter, Michael Kenneth Winson, Mark G. J. Hartl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
123 Downloads (Pure)


Scarce information is available regarding the fate and toxicology of engineered silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in the marine environment, especially when compared to other environmental compartments. Hence, the antibacterial activity of the NM-300 AgNPs (OECD programme) and a household product containing colloidalAgNPs (Mesosilver) was investigated using marine bacteria, pure cultures and natural mixed populations (microcosm approach). Bacterial susceptibility to AgNPs was species-specific, with Gram negative bacteria being more resistant than the Gram positive species (NM-300 concentration used ranged between 0.062 and 1.5 mg L−1), and the Mesosilver product was more toxic than the NM-300. Bacterial viability and the physiological status (O2 uptake measured by respirometry) of the microbial community in the microcosm was negatively affected at an initial concentration of 1 mg L−1 NM-300. The high chloride concentrations in the media/seawater led to the formation of silver-chloro complexes thus enhancing AgNP toxicity. We recommend the use of natural marine bacteria as models when assessing the environmental relevant antibacterial properties of products containing nanosilver.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-302
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Early online date22 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


  • Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)
  • Bacteria
  • Hormesis
  • Respiration
  • Salinity
  • Silver nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


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