As the production and applications of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) increase, it is essential to characterize fate and effects in environmental systems. Nanosilver materials may settle from suspension; therefore, the authors' objective was to utilize environmentally relevant bioassays and study the impact, bioaccumulation, tissue distribution, uptake, and depuration of AgNPs on a sediment-dwelling invertebrate, Lumbriculus variegatus. Hydrodynamic diameters of uncoated 30-nm, 80-nm, and 1500-nm AgNP powders and a polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) AgNP suspension were measured utilizing dynamic light scattering in freshwater media (0–280 µS/cm). Aggregation for 30 nm, 80 nm, and 1500 nm silver increased with conductivity but was minimal for PVP silver. Lumbriculus variegatus were exposed to AgNPs or silver nitrate (AgNO3) spiked into sediment (nominally 100 mg/kg) and water (PVP 30 nm and 70 nm Ag, nominally 5 mg/L). Uptake was assessed through inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) and hyperspectral imaging. Particle sizes were examined through field flow fractionation–ICP-MS (FFF-ICP-MS) and ICP-MS in single particle mode (SP-ICP-MS). Lumbriculus variegatus were also depurated for 6 h, 8 h, 24 h, and 48 h to determine gut clearance. Bioaccumulation factors of sediment-exposed L. variegatus were similar regardless of particle size or coatings. The FFF-ICP-MS and SP-ICP-MS detected AgNPs for up to 48 h post depuration. The present study provides information on bioaccumulation and interactions of AgNPs within biological systems. Environ Toxicol Chem 2013;32:2069–2077. © 2013 SETAC
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