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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 1872351, 7 pages
Research Article

Silver Nanoparticles Affect Functional Bioenergetic Traits in the Invasive Red Sea Mussel Brachidontes pharaonis

1Dipartimento di Scienze ed Innovazione Tecnologica, University of Piemonte Orientale, Via Michel 11, 15121 Alessandria, Italy
2Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e del Mare, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze Ed. 16, 90128 Palermo, Italy

Received 3 May 2016; Accepted 22 June 2016

Academic Editor: Zongming Ren

Copyright © 2016 Ilenia Saggese et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We investigated the functional trait responses to 5 nm metallic silver nanoparticle (AgNPs) exposure in the Lessepsian-entry bivalve B. pharaonis. Respiration rate (oxygen consumption), heartbeat rate, and absorption efficiency were evaluated across an 8-day exposure period in mesocosmal conditions. Basal reference values from not-exposed specimens were statistically compared with those obtained from animals treated with three sublethal nanoparticle concentrations (2 μg L−1, 20 μg L−1, and 40 μg L−1). Our data showed statistically significant effects on the average respiration rate of B. pharaonis. Moreover, complex nonlinear dynamics were observed as a function of the concentration level and time. Heartbeat rates largely increased with no acclimation in animals exposed to the two highest levels with similar temporal dynamics. Eventually, a decreasing trend for absorption efficiency might indicate energetic constraints. In general, these data support the possible impact of engineered nanomaterials in marine environments and support the relevance of functional trait assessment in present and future ecotoxicological studies.