Chemistry & Chemical Engineering
The Royal Military College of Canada
2019 - Present
Supervisor(s): Kela Weber
Research Project: The fate and effect of silver nanomaterials on subsurface wetland mesocosms
Wetlands are defined as areas of land that are flooded during part or all of the year, characterized by the development of plants that can grow in saturated soils. These ecosystems are among the most biologically productive; hosting a diverse number of wildlife and fauna. Wetlands are key in watershed management providing a transitional area between terrestrial and aquatic zones. In Canada, they account for 14% of the country's total land area and are known as "nature's kidney's" due to their innate capability to transform a wide range of pollutants into harmless by-products via their diverse microbial communities.
Engineered nanomaterials are increasingly used in a variety of industrial and consumer products, which, due to their abundance, creates a high probability for their introduction into a variety of ecosystems, at potentially harmful levels. Due to their antimicrobial properties, silver nanomaterials are one of the most frequently employed nanomaterials and, as such, are predicted to be released into the aquatic environment via treated wastewater effluent at concentrations which may cause potentially toxic effects. The wetland's microbial communities could be impaired by the release of these nanomaterials however the current research is limited. The objective of this project is to examine the effects of both pristine and weathered AG nanonmaterials through separate in-situ exposures in subsurface flow wetland mesocosms and examine the fate of Ag nanomaterials through destructive sampling of the wetland mesocosms.
Gray DB, Gagnon V, Button M, Farooq AJ, Patch DJ, Wallace SJ, Koch I, O'Carroll D, Weber KP. (2021) Silver nanomaterials released from commercial textiles have minimal impacts on soil microbial communities at environmentally relevant concentrations. Science of the Total Environment, 806 (Pt 3):151248.