Silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) exhibit antibacterial activity and are extensively used in numerous applications. The aim of this study was to examine the toxic effect of Ag NPs on the marine microalga, Chlorella vulgaris. The microalgae, at the exponential growth phase, were treated with different concentrations of Ag NPs (50 and 100 nm) for 96 h. X-Ray diffraction (XRD) results indicated that the used NPs are single and pure Ag phase with a mean crystallite size of 21 and 32 nm. Ag NPs were found to have a negative effect on viable cell concentration, a variable effect on chlorophyll a concentration, and increased ROS formation. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis revealed that Ag NPs were present inside the microalgae cells and formed large aggregates in the culture medium. Ag+ ions, in the form of AgNO3, were also assessed at higher concentrations and found to cause inhibitory effects.
Keywords: Ag ions; Chlorella vulgaris; chlorophyll a; reactive oxygen species; silver nanoparticles; viable cells.