The widespread production and use of silver nanomaterials (AgNMs) in consumer and medical products have been raising environmental concerns. Once in the environment, the soil is one of the major sinks of AgNMs due to e.g. sewage sludge applications, and invertebrates are directly exposed. In this study, we investigate the potential of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to reduce the toxic effects of Ag NM300 K (and AgNO3) on the soil invertebrate Enchytraeus crypticus. Ag NM300 K induces mortality, reproduction impairment, and avoidance. The addition of NAC to the soil showed a remarkable reduction in the toxicity of Ag, indicating that NAC can act as a detoxifying agent for terrestrial organisms exposed to Ag materials. That the reduction in toxicity likely is caused by thiol groups, was confirmed by GSH and GSSH studies. Identifying the mechanisms and hence alternatives that allow the recovery of contaminated soils is an important mitigation measure to promote environmental safety and reduce the associated risks to human health. Further, it may inform on strategies to implement in safe-by-design industry development.
- Avoidance behaviour
- Thiol compounds