The antibacterial properties of silver are not always beneficial – falling into the ground, nanoparticles of this substance can kill beneficial microorganisms and affect food safety. Scientists from the Southern Federal University of Russia have studied the effect of silver nanoparticles on the soil and determined the rate of their concentration in chernozem. According to experts, no such indicators have been developed anywhere in the world. The scientists’ results were published in the journal Plants, RIA Novosti reported.
Silver nanoparticles have antibacterial properties, so they are used in many industries, such as food, textiles and medicine. But they can also have a poisonous effect when they fall into the ground. This can occur as a result of production, use or disposal. The negative impact of silver nanoparticles on the soil has not been studied, scientists say. The earth is dying – due to total pollution Russian experts have tested the effects of pollution of humus – one of the most fertile soil layers in the world. Its composition directly affects the safety of products. Once in the human body, silver nanoparticles in a certain concentration can disrupt metabolism, scientists explain. “We found that the stronger the contamination of the soil with silver nanoparticles, the more it significantly reduces its fertility. That was predictable. But it was unexpectedly found that the poisoning effect does not depend on the size of the silver particles and the silver nano- and microparticles have approximately the same negative effect. While for other heavy metals – such as copper, zinc, chromium, nickel – nanoparticles (1-100 nanometers – b.r.) are more toxic than microparticles (0.1-100 micrometers) “, says Sergei Kolesnikov, head of the Department of ecology and environmental management at the Southwestern Federal University.
As a result of research, scientists have for the first time established the environmentally safe concentration of silver in humus/black earth in southern Russia – 4.4 mg / kg. This will help to develop standards for other geographical areas as well. According to experts, such data do not exist in any country in the world. Air pollution kills at least 7 million people each year. Also, one of the key results of research, according to experts, is the fact that the toxic effects of silver are most pronounced only in the first month after pollution. Then the ecological functions of the soil are gradually restored.