The effect of silver ions and nanoparticles on biofilms and planktonic cultures of Nitrosomonas europaea Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/cf95jf66f

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  • Due to the effective antimicrobial properties of silver nanoparticles they represent a significant proportion of all consumer-­‐related nanomaterials. The introduction of silver nanoparticles from these products into domestic and industrial wastewater streams poses potential complications for biological treatment systems. A critical component of biological treatment that is extremely sensitive to perturbation is the nitrification process that converts ammonia to nitrate. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of silver ions and silver nanoparticles on the model nitrifying bacteria, Nitrosomonas europaea, in both suspended cell batch and continuous biofilm cultures. These cultures were exposed to varying concentrations of either silver ions or nanoparticles and their nitrification activity, the associated silver masses of both the media and biomass, protein content of the N.europaea cells, and silver nanoparticle size and aggregation state were monitored during the experiments. The major findings of this study are that silver ions inhibit nitrification activity in both suspended batch and continuous biofilm cultures to a greater extent than silver nanoparticles and that biofilms are more tolerant to inhibition by silver ions and nanoparticles than suspended cells. These results indicate that silver nanoparticles may not pose a significant risk to nitrification processes in biological wastewater treatment systems.
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