John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Influence of soil properties and soil leaching on the toxicity of ionic silver to plants

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Silver (Ag) has been shown to exhibit antimicrobial properties and as a result it is being increasingly used in a wide range of consumer products. Due to these uses, there is an increased likelihood that Ag may enter the environment, predominately via land application of biosolids or irrigation with treated wastewater effluent. The aim of this study was to investigate the toxicity of Ag to two plant species, barley (Hordeum vulgare L. CV Triumph) and tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum) in a range of soils under both leached and unleached conditions. The concentrations that resulted in a 50% reduction of plant growth (EC50) were found to vary up to 20‐fold across the soils indicating that there was a large influence of soil type on Ag toxicity. Overall, barley root elongation was found to be the least sensitive to additions of Ag, with EC50 values ranging from 51 to 1030 mg/kg, whereas the tomato plant height showed higher sensitivity with EC50 values ranging from 46 to 486 mg/kg. The effect of leaching was more evident in the barley toxicity results, where higher concentrations of Ag were required to induce toxicity. Variations in soil organic carbon (OC) and pH were found to be primarily responsible for mitigating Ag toxicity and therefore these properties may be used in future risk assessments for Ag to predict toxicity in a wide range of soil types. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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