Reducing Environmental Toxicity of Silver Nanoparticles through Shape Control

Danielle E. Gorka, Joshua S. Osterberg, Carley A. Gwin, Benjamin P. Colman, Joel N. Meyer, Emily S. Bernhardt, Claudia K. Gunsch, Richard T. DiGulio, Jie Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


The use of antibacterial silver nanomaterials in consumer products ranging from textiles to toys has given rise to concerns over their environmental toxicity. These materials, primarily nanoparticles, have been shown to be toxic to a wide range of organisms; thus methods and materials that reduce their environmental toxicity while retaining their useful antibacterial properties can potentially solve this problem. Here we demonstrate that silver nanocubes display a lower toxicity toward the model plant species Lolium multiflorum while showing similar toxicity toward other environmentally relevant and model organisms (Danio rerio and Caenorhabditis elegans) and bacterial species (Esherichia coli, Bacillus cereus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) compared to quasi-spherical silver nanoparticles and silver nanowires. More specifically, in the L. multiflorum experiments, the roots of silver nanocube treated plants were 5.3% shorter than the control, while silver nanoparticle treated plant roots were 39.6% shorter than the control. The findings here could assist in the future development of new antibacterial products that cause less environmental toxicity after their intended use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10093-10098
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number16
StatePublished - Jul 6 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Reducing Environmental Toxicity of Silver Nanoparticles through Shape Control'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this