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PhD Defence

Fate, accumulation and impact of metallic nanomaterials in the terrestrial environment

  • J. Wu
Thursday 16 December 2021
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof. W.J.G.M. Peijnenburg
  • Prof. M.G. Vijver


The rapidly increasing commercial application of metallic nanoparticles within products will inevitably enhance the amount of NPs being released into soil. Assessment of the impact of metallic nanoparticles (NPs) in soil ecosystems is a necessity for ensuring their safe and sustainable application. In this thesis, we integrated exposure routes and exposure dynamics of NPs to investigate the uptake, translocation and impacts of metallic NPs in plants upon long-term exposure. We furthermore investigated the long-term impacts of NPs on the rhizosphere soil bacterial community and the potential transfer and biomagnification within the lettuce - terrestrial snails food chain. Our results demonstrate that 1) root exposure induced more phytotoxicity than foliar exposure at equal exposure concentrations; 2) the phytotoxicity and accumulation of AgNPs in plants was shape- and size-dependent; 3) nanoparticulate Ag present in AgNPs suspensions that predominantly drive their impacts on green leafy plants; 4) the dissolution of AgNPs in soil is the dominant process influencing Ag uptake and translocation in lettuce; 5) long-term exposure to high concentrations of AgNPs altered the structure and composition of rhizosphere bacterial community; 6) NPs can be transferred from lettuce leaves to snails, as associated with increased potential risks to higher trophic level organisms.

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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