In this study, a novel nanomaterial Cu2O/SiO2 was synthesized based on nano-SiO2, and the inhibitory effects of different concentrations of Cu2O/SiO2 on the growth of Microcystis aeruginosa (M. aeruginosa) were studied. At the same time, the mechanism of Cu2O/SiO2 inhibiting the growth of M. aeruginosa was discussed from the aspects of Cu2+ release, chlorophyll a destruction, oxidative damage, total protein, and the phycobiliprotein of algae cells. The results showed that low doses of Cu2O/SiO2 could promote the growth of M. aeruginosa. When the concentration of Cu2O/SiO2 reached 10 mg/L, it exhibited the best inhibitory effect on M. aeruginosa, and the relative inhibition rate reached 294% at 120 h. In terms of the algae inhibition mechanism, Cu2O/SiO2 will release Cu2+ in the solution and induce metal toxicity to algae cells. At the same time, M. aeruginosa might suffer oxidative damage by the free radicals, such as hydroxyl radicals released from Cu2O/SiO2, affecting the physiological characteristics of algae cells. Moreover, after the addition of Cu2O/SiO2, a decrease in the content of chlorophyll a, total soluble protein, and phycobiliprotein was found, which eventually led to the death of M. aeruginosa. Therefore, Cu2O/SiO2 can be used as an algaecide inhibitor for controlling harmful cyanobacteria blooms.
Keywords: Cu2O/SiO2; antioxidant enzyme; harmful cyanobacteria; hydroxyl radical.