Current Research | Apr 2, 2016

Looking at the Impacts of Nanosilver on Fresh Water

In 2014, researchers began to add nanosilver, tiny particles that have anti-microbial properties, to an IISD-ELA lake.

Nanosilver particles that have anti-microbial properties are being added to many consumer items including clothing, washing machines, and baby products. The release of these compounds to freshwater ecosystems have unknown effects on lakes and rivers. In 2014, researchers began to add nanosilver to an IISD-ELA lake.

Following two years of experimental nanosilver additions, we start to recover and monitor Lake 222 in 2016.  To date, large scale changes have not been observed.  Several papers on this project have been published several more are on the way.

Researchers in this whole-ecosystem nanosilver study included graduate students and principal investigators from Trent University, Lakehead University, and Institut national de la recherche scientifique. Research internships were provided through support from an NSERC CREATE program (CREATE H2O), coordinated by the University of Manitoba. Funding for the whole-lake addition project was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada through the Strategic Grants Program, and matching grants from Environment and Climate Change Canada. IISD-ELA provided in-kind support for the project, Support for biomarker analyses was provided by the National Contaminants Advisory Group of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Mercury, energy density analyses, and bioenergetics modelling was supported by infrastructure funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, NSERC Discovery, and support from IISD-ELA and the Mitacs Accelerate Program.