Nanosilver and Nano Zero-Valent Iron Exposure Affects Nutrient Exchange Across the Sediment–Water Interface

  • Robert W. Buchkowski
  • Clayton J. Williams
  • Joel Kelly
  • Jonathan G. C. Veinot
  • Marguerite A. Xenopoulos


To examine how nanoparticles influence biogeochemical cycles in streams, we studied the acute impact of nanosilver (nAg) and nanoparticulate zero-valent iron (nZVI) exposure on nutrient and oxygen exchange across the sediment–water interface of two streams (agricultural canal and wetland) that differed in their water quality and sediment characteristics. At the agricultural site, nAg increased oxygen consumption and decreased N2 flux rates from that observed in control incubations. nZVI caused sediment–water systems from both streams to go hypoxic within 1.5 h of exposure. N2 flux rates were at least an order of magnitude higher in nZVI treatments as compared to control. Water column nitrate and nitrite concentrations were not impacted by nZVI exposure but total dissolved phosphorus concentrations were higher in cores treated with nZVI. nAg and nZVI exposure to surface water ecosystems can disrupt ecological function across the sediment–water interface.


Nanoparticles Biogeochemical effects Denitrification Nutrient cycling Ecosystem function 



This study was funded by Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery grant to M.A.X. and an NSERC undergraduate student research award to R.W.B. Thank you to A.B. Scott for assistance in the field and lab.

Supplementary material

128_2015_1697_MOESM1_ESM.docx (409 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 409 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Buchkowski
    • 1
    • 3
  • Clayton J. Williams
    • 1
    • 4
  • Joel Kelly
    • 2
  • Jonathan G. C. Veinot
    • 2
  • Marguerite A. Xenopoulos
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Yale School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.Department of Environmental Science and BiologyState University of New York - The College at BrockportBrockportUSA

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