Gold nanoparticle biodissolution by a freshwater macrophyte and its associated microbiome.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Predicting nanoparticle fate in aquatic environments requires mimicking of ecosystem complexity to observe the geochemical processes affecting their behaviour. Here, 12 nm Au nanoparticles were added weekly to large-scale freshwater wetland mesocosms. After six months, ~70% of Au was associated with the macrophyte Egeria densa, where, despite the thermodynamic stability of Au0 in water, the pristine Au0 nanoparticles were fully oxidized and complexed to cyanide, hydroxyls or thiol ligands. Extracted biofilms growing on E. densa leaves were shown to dissolve Au nanoparticles within days. The Au biodissolution rate was highest for the biofilm with the lowest prevalence of metal-resistant taxa but the highest ability to release cyanide, known to promote Au0 oxidation and complexation. Macrophytes and the associated microbiome thus form a biologically active system that can be a major sink for nanoparticle accumulation and transformations. Nanoparticle biotransformation in these compartments should not be ignored, even for nanoparticles commonly considered to be stable in the environment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Avellan, A; Simonin, M; McGivney, E; Bossa, N; Spielman-Sun, E; Rocca, JD; Bernhardt, ES; Geitner, NK; Unrine, JM; Wiesner, MR; Lowry, GV

Published Date

  • November 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 1072 - 1077

PubMed ID

  • 30104621

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1748-3395

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1748-3387

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/s41565-018-0231-y


  • eng