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Environmental technology

Escherichia coli growth and transport in the presence of nanosilver under variable growth conditions.


PMID 25145184

Abstract

Nanosilver (silver nanoparticles) has the ability to anchor to the bacterial cell membrane and subsequently penetrate it, thereby causing structural changes (i.e., permeability) in the cell membrane and death of the cell. The bacterial responses to the presence of nanosilver usually vary depending on the concentration of nanosilver particles, exposure time and the bacterial physiological stage. Since bacterial anabolism dependents upon a stoichiometric ratio of carbon and inorganic elements (nutrients), the macronutrient ratio, i.e. carbon to nitrogen ratio (C/N) thus plays an important role of bacterial responses to the exposure of nanosilver. This study investigated the responses of Escherichia coli to the exposure of nanosilver under variable growth conditions. It was discovered that E. coli grown under different growth conditions had different responses to the presence of nanosilver. E. coli had least resistance to the toxicity of nanosilver when cultured under carbon-limited conditions. However, the presence of rhamnolipid, a commonly utilized biosurfactant for soil remediation increased the resistance of E. coli to nanosilver. The transport of E. coli cultured under carbon-limited conditions was further studied in silica sand columns. E. coli adsorption in silica sand increased when cultured in the presence of nanosilver. On the contrary, E. coli adsorption in silica sand was significantly reduced when cultured in the presence of rhamnolipid.