Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, 15:1896 | Cite as

Silver nanoparticles in soil–plant systems



Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have broad spectrum antimicrobial/biocidal properties against all classes of microorganisms and possess numerous distinctive physico-chemical properties compared to bulk Ag. Hence, AgNPs are among the most widely used engineered NPs in a wide range of consumer products and are expected to enter natural ecosystems including soil via diverse pathways. However, despite: (i) soil has been considered as a critical pathway for NPs environmental fate, (ii) plants (essential base component of all ecosystems) have been strongly recommended to be included for the development of a comprehensive toxicity profile for rapidly mounting NPs in varied environmental compartments, and (iii) the occurrence of an intricate relationship between “soil–plant systems” where any change in soil chemical/biological properties is bound to have impact on plant system, the knowledge about AgNPs in soils and investigations on AgNPs–plants interaction is still rare and in its rudimentary stage. To this end, the current paper: (a) overviews sources, status, fate, and chemistry of AgNPs in soils, AgNPs-impact on soil biota, (b) critically discusses terrestrial plant responses to AgNPs exposure, and (c) illustrates the knowledge-gaps in the current perspective. Based on the available literature critically appraised herein, a multidisciplinary integrated approach is strongly recommended for future research in the current direction aimed at unveiling the rapidly mounting AgNPs-fate, transformation, accumulation, and toxicity potential in “soil–plant systems,” and their cumulative impact on environmental and human health.


Silver Nanoparticle Soil–plant systems Phytotoxicity Tolerance 



NAA (SFRH/BPD/84671/2012), ACD, EP, and IA are grateful to the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the Aveiro University Research Institute/Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM) for partial financial supports. SSG would like to acknowledge the receipt of funds from CSIR and UGC, Govt. of India, New Delhi. Authors apologize if some references related to the main theme of the current review could not be cited due to space constraint.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CESAM-Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, Department of ChemistryUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.CESAM-Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, Department of BiologyUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  3. 3.Stress Physiology and Molecular Biology Lab, Centre for Biotechnology, Faculty of Life SciencesMD UniversityRohtakIndia

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