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Filter-Feeding Bivalves Store and Biodeposit Colloidally Stable Gold Nanoparticles

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journal contribution
posted on 01.08.2011, 00:00 by Matthew S. Hull, Perrine Chaurand, Jerome Rose, Melanie Auffan, Jean-Yves Bottero, Jason C. Jones, Irvin R. Schultz, Peter J. Vikesland
Nanoparticles resistant to salt-induced aggregation are continually being developed for biomedical and industrial applications. Because of their colloidal stability these functionalized nanoparticles are anticipated to be persistent aquatic contaminants. Here, we show that Corbicula fluminea, a globally distributed clam that is a known sentinel of aquatic ecosystem contamination, can uptake and biodeposit bovine serum albumin (BSA) stabilized gold nanoparticles. Nanoparticle clearance rates from suspension were dictated by diameter and concentration, with the largest particles cleared most quickly on a mass basis. Particle capture facilitates size-selective ‘biopurification’ of particle suspensions with nanoscale resolution. Nanoparticles were retained either within the clam digestive tract or excreted in feces. Our results suggest that biotransformation and biodeposition will play a significant role in the fate and transport of persistent nanoparticles in aquatic systems.

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