Publication in Environ Sci Technol 2017

A team of French scientists has recently published new findings on the effects and interactions of silver nanoparticles and plants titled "Silver Nanoparticles and Wheat Roots: A Complex Interplay" in the journal of Environmental Science & Technology.


Scientists have hypothesised that silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) may act as "Trojan horses" entering living organisms and then releasing silver cations (Ag+) over time, causing toxicity. This has been recently proposed as the mechanism by which Ag2S-NPs could be toxic to wheat and cowpea.

New work by a team of French scientists evidences a more complex scheme – although the Trojan horse scenario is very likely to take place. Different reactions of the plant as a function of the initially used silver forms were determined. Data from this study showed drastic different responses of the plant depending upon the starting nanoparticles. The distribution of silver species probably evolves over time, leading to a complex exposition pattern for plants, also exposed to HS- in the case of Ag2S-NPs.


The authors suggest that the conflicting results usually seen in the literature concerning the toxicity of silver nanoparticles are generally ascribed to differences in exposure conditions, structural properties of nanoparticles, and plant species. This evolving silver speciation may represent an additional source of variability and conflicting results.....


  • Read the complete press release (, 31.05.2017) online via


Original Publication:

Pradas Del Real A.E., Vidal V., Carriere M., Castillo-Michel H., Levard C., Chaurand P., Sarret G. (2017). Silver Nanoparticles and Wheat Roots: A Complex Interplay. Environ Sci Technol, 51(10): 5774-5782.




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