Nanomaterials in Biosolids Inhibit Nodulation, Shift Microbial Community Composition, and Result in Increased Metal Uptake Relative to Bulk/Dissolved Metals

Jonathan D. Judy, David H. McNear, Chun Chen, Ricky W. Lewis, Olga V. Tsyusko, Paul M. Bertsch, William Rao, John Stegemeier, Gregory V. Lowry, Steve P. McGrath, Mark Durenkamp, Jason M. Unrine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined the effects of amending soil with biosolids produced from a pilot-scale wastewater treatment plant containing a mixture of metal-based engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) on the growth of Medicago truncatula, its symbiosis with Sinorhizobium meliloti, and on soil microbial community structure. Treatments consisted of soils amended with biosolids generated with (1) Ag, ZnO, and TiO2 ENMs introduced into the influent wastewater (ENM biosolids), (2) AgNO3, Zn(SO4)2, and micron-sized TiO2 (dissolved/bulk metal biosolids) introduced into the influent wastewater stream, or (3) no metal added to influent wastewater (control). Soils were amended with biosolids to simulate 20 years of metal loading, which resulted in nominal metal concentrations of 1450, 100, and 2400 mg kg-1 of Zn, Ag, and Ti, respectively, in the dissolved/bulk and ENM treatments. Tissue Zn concentrations were significantly higher in the plants grown in the ENM treatment (182 mg kg-1) compared to those from the bulk treatment (103 mg kg-1). Large reductions in nodulation frequency, plant growth, and significant shifts in soil microbial community composition were found for the ENM treatment compared to the bulk/dissolved metal treatment. These results suggest differences in metal bioavailability and toxicity between ENMs and bulk/dissolved metals at concentrations relevant to regulatory limits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8751-8758
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume49
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 21 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry

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