Effect of soil organic matter content and pH on the toxicity of ZnO nanoparticles to Folsomia candida

Pauline L Waalewijn-Kool, Svenja Rupp, Stephen Lofts, Claus Svendsen, Cornelis A M van Gestel
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 2014, 108: 9-15
Organic matter (OM) and pH may influence nanoparticle fate and effects in soil. This study investigated the influence of soil organic matter content and pH on the toxicity of ZnO-NP and ZnCl2 to Folsomia candida in four natural soils, having between 2.37% and 14.7% OM and [Formula: see text] levels between 5.0 and 6.8. Porewater Zn concentrations were much lower in ZnO-NP than in ZnCl2 spiked soils, resulting in higher Freundlich sorption constants for ZnO-NP. For ZnCl2 the porewater Zn concentrations were significantly higher in less organic soils, while for ZnO-NP the highest soluble Zn level (23mgZn/l) was measured in the most organic soil, which had the lowest pH. Free Zn(2+) ion concentrations were higher for ZnCl2 than for ZnO-NP and were greatly dependent on pH (pHpw) and dissolved organic carbon content of the pore water. The 28-d EC50 values for the effect of ZnCl2 on the reproduction of F. candida increased with increasing OM content from 356 to 1592mgZn/kg d.w. For ZnO-NP no correlation between EC50 values and OM content was found and EC50 values ranged from 1695 in the most organic soil to 4446mgZn/kg d.w. in the higher pH soil. When based on porewater and free Zn(2+) concentrations, EC50 values were higher for ZnCl2 than for ZnO-NP, and consistently decreased with increasing pHpw. This study shows that ZnO-NP toxicity is dependent on soil properties, but is mainly driven by soil pH.

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