The effect of soil properties on the toxicity and bioaccumulation of Ag nanoparticles and Ag ions in Enchytraeus crypticus

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2017 Oct;144:330-337. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.06.037. Epub 2017 Jun 22.


Standard natural Lufa soils (2.2, 2.3 and 5M) with different organic carbon contents (0.67-1.61%) and pHCaCl2 (5.5-7.3) were spiked with ionic Ag (AgNO3) and polyvinyl pyrrolidone (AgNP-PVP) and citrate (AgNP-Cit) coated Ag nanoparticles (NPs). Enchytraeus crypticus were exposed for 21 days to assess effects on survival and reproduction. Soil, pore water and animals were analyzed for Ag. AgNP-Cit had a strong increasing effect on soil pH, leading to high enchytraeid mortality at concentrations higher than 60-100mg Ag/kg dry soil which made it impossible to determine the influence of soil properties on its toxicity. LC50s were lower for AgNO3 than for AgNP-PVP (92-112 and 335-425mg Ag/kg dry soil, respectively) and were not affected by soil properties. AgNO3 and AgNP-PVP had comparable reproductive toxicity with EC50s of 26.9-75.2 and 28.2-92.3mg Ag/kg dry soil, respectively; toxicity linearly increased with decreasing organic carbon content of the soils but did not show a clear effect of soil pH. Ag uptake in the enchytraeids was higher at higher organic carbon content, but could not explain differences in toxicity between soils. This study indicates that the bioavailability of both ionic and nanoparticulate Ag is mainly affected by soil organic carbon, with little effect of soil pH.

Keywords: Bioaccumulation; Organic matter; Pore water; Reproduction; pH.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Citric Acid / chemistry
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ions
  • Lethal Dose 50
  • Metal Nanoparticles / toxicity*
  • Oligochaeta / drug effects*
  • Oligochaeta / metabolism
  • Povidone / chemistry
  • Reproduction / drug effects
  • Silver / metabolism
  • Silver / toxicity*
  • Silver Nitrate / metabolism
  • Silver Nitrate / toxicity
  • Soil / chemistry*
  • Soil / standards
  • Soil Pollutants / metabolism
  • Soil Pollutants / toxicity*


  • Ions
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Citric Acid
  • Silver
  • Silver Nitrate
  • Povidone