The advance of nanotechnology has enabled the development of materials with optimized properties for applications in agriculture and environment. For instance, nanotechnology-based fertilizers, such as the candidate hydroxyapatite (HAp) nanoparticles (Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2), can potentially increase the food production by rationally supplying phosphorous to crops, although with inferior mobility in the environment (when compared to the soluble counterparts), avoiding eutrophication. Nonetheless, the widespread consumption of nanofertilizers also raises concern about feasible deleterious effects caused by their release in the environment, which ultimately imposes risks to aquatic biota and human health. Nanoparticles characteristics such as size, shape, surface charge and chemical functionality strongly alter how they interact with the surrounding environment, leading to distinct levels of toxicity. This investigation aimed to compare the toxicity of different HAp nanoparticles, obtained by two distinct chemical routes, against algae Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata, which composes the base of the aquatic trophic chain. The as synthesized HAp nanoparticles obtained by co-precipitation and co-precipitation followed by hydrothermal method were fully characterized regarding structure and morphology. Toxicity tests against the microalgae were carried out to evaluate the growth inhibition and the morphological changes experienced by the exposition to HAp nanoparticles. The results showed that high concentrations of coprecipitated HAp samples significantly decreased cell density and caused morphological changes on the algal cells surface when compared to HAp obtained by hydrothermal method. HAp nanoparticles obtained with dispersing agent ammonium polymethacrylate (APMA) indicated negligible toxic effects for algae, due to the higher dispersion of HAp in the culture medium as well as a reduced shading effect. Therefore, HAp nanoparticles obtained by the latter route can be considered a potential source of phosphorous for agricultural crops in addition to reduce eutrophication.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2017
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