Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are used intensively in medical and industrial applications. Environmental concerns have arisen from the potential release of this material into aquatic ecosystems. The aims of this research were to evaluate the potential accumulation of silver in the whole body of organisms and analyze the effects of AgNPs on the survival and reproduction of the snail Biomphalaria glabrata. Results show slow acute toxicity with a 10-day LC50 of 18.57 mg/L and an effective decrease in the eggs and egg clutches per organism exposed to tested concentrations. Based on these data, the No Observed Effect Concentration (NOEC) observed was <1 mg/L for snail reproduction. For silver accumulation, we observed that uptake was faster than elimination, which was very slow and still incomplete 35 days after the end of the experiment. However, the observed accumulation was not connected with a concentration/response relationship, since the amount of silver was not equivalent to a higher reproductive effect. The data observed show that AgNPs are toxic to B. glabrata, and suggest that the snail has internal mechanisms to combat the presence of Ag in its body, ensuring survival and reduced reproduction and showing that the species seems to be a potential indicator for Ag presence in contaminated aquatic ecosystems.
Keywords: benthic species; chronic toxicity; ecotoxicology; metals; nanotechnology.