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Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2012, Article ID 293784, 9 pages
Research Article

In Vivo Toxicity of Silver Nanoparticles and Silver Ions in Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

1Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
2Section of Zoophysiology, Department of Biological Sciences, Aarhus University, C.F. Moellers Allé 3, Building 1131, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Received 31 May 2011; Accepted 8 September 2011

Academic Editor: Christian Gagnon

Copyright © 2012 Katrine Bilberg 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.


The influence of water chemistry on characterised polyvinyl pyrrolidone- (PVP-) coated silver nanoparticles (81 nm) was investigated. NaCl solution series of 100–800 mg L−1 lead to initial and temporal increase in nanoparticles size, but agglomeration was limited. pH variation (5–8) had only minor influence on the hydrodynamic particle size. Acute toxicity of nanosivler to zebrafish (Danio rerio) was investigated in a 48-hour static renewal study and compared with the toxicity of silver ions (AgNO3). The nanosilver and silver ion 48-hour median lethal concentration (LC50) values were 84 μg L−1 and 25 μg L−1, respectively. To investigate exposure-related stress, the fish behaviour was observed visually after 0, 3, 6, 12, 24, 27, 30, and 48 hours of both nanosilver and ionic silver treatments. These observations revealed increased rate of operculum movement and surface respiration after nanosilver exposure, suggesting respiratory toxicity. The present study demonstrates that silver nanoparticles are lethal to zebrafish.