Silver nanoparticle toxicity to the larvae of oyster Crassostrea angulata : Contribution of in vivo dissolution

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number159965
Journal / PublicationScience of the Total Environment
Online published5 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


Understanding the toxic mechanism of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) is crucial for it risk assessment in marine environment, but the role of Ag+ release in the AgNP toxicity to marine biota is not yet well addressed. This study investigated the toxicity of AgNPs to the veliger larvae of oyster Crassostrea angulata, with a specific focus on the possibility of the involvement of in vivo dissolution of AgNPs in the toxicity via an aggregation-induced emission luminogen (AIEgen)-based imaging technique. AgNO3 exhibited significantly greater toxicity than AgNPs based on the total Ag, as indicated by lower 50 % growth inhibition concentration (EC50). The average concentration of soluble Ag in seawater at the EC50 of AgNPs was far lower than the EC50 of AgNO3, indicating that the AgNP toxicity could not be fully explained by the dissolved Ag in the medium. Despite the comparable soluble Ag concentration in seawater for both treatments, more Ag was accumulated in the larvae exposed to AgNPs, suggesting their ability to directly ingest particulate Ag, which was further confirmed by the presence of AgNPs aggregates in the esophagus and stomach. With the application of AIEgen-based imaging technique, in vivo dissolution of AgNPs in oyster larvae was thoroughly verified by an increase in Ag(I) content in the larvae exposed to AgNPs after depuration. The results collectively implied that apart from the Ag released in the medium, the Ag dissolved from the ingested AgNPs may also greatly contribute to the toxicity of AgNPs toward the oyster larvae. The findings of this work shed new light on the bioavailability and toxicity of AgNPs in marine environment.

Research Area(s)

  • Bioaccumulation, Ion release, Marine bivalve, Nanotoxicity