Complementary imaging of silver nanoparticle interactions with green algae: dark-field microscopy, electron microscopy, and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry

Sekine, Ryo; Moore, Katie L.; Matzke, Marianne; Vallotton, Pascal; Jiang, Haibo; Hughes, Gareth M.; Kirby, Jason K.; Donner, Erica; Grovenor, Chris R.M.; Svendsen, Claus; Lombi, Enzo. 2017 Complementary imaging of silver nanoparticle interactions with green algae: dark-field microscopy, electron microscopy, and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry. ACS Nano, 11 (11). 10894-10902.

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Increasing consumer use of engineered nanomaterials has led to significantly increased efforts to understand their potential impact on the environment and living organisms. Currently, no individual technique can provide all the necessary information such as their size, distribution and chemistry in complex biological systems. Consequently, there is a need to develop complementary instrumental imaging approaches that provide enhanced understanding of these “bio-nano” interactions to overcome the limitations of individual techniques. Here we used a multimodal imaging approach incorporating dark-field light microscopy, high resolution electron microscopy and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS). The aim was to gain insight into the bio-nano interactions of surface functionalised silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) with the green algae <i>Raphidocelis subcapitata</i>, by combining the fidelity, spatial resolution, and elemental identification offered by the three techniques, respectively. Each technique revealed that Ag-NPs interact with the green algae with a dependence on the size (10 nm vs 60 nm) and surface functionality (tannic acid vs branched polyethyleneimine, bPEI) of the NPs. Dark-field light microscopy revealed the presence of strong light-scatterers on the algal cell surface, and SEM imaging confirmed their nanoparticulate nature and localisation at nanoscale resolution. NanoSIMS imaging confirmed their chemical identity as Ag, with the majority of signal concentrated at the cell surface. Furthermore, SEM and NanoSIMS provided evidence of 10 nm bPEI Ag-NP internalisation at higher concentrations (40 µg/L), correlating with the highest toxicity observed from these NPs. This multimodal approach thus demonstrated an effective approach to complement dose-response studies in nano-(eco)-toxicological investigations.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1936-0851
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: silver nanoparticles, multimodal imaging, NanoSIMS, dark-field light microscopy, bio-nano interactions, nanotoxicology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 09 Jan 2018 17:05 +0 (UTC)

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