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Title: Metabolomics for early detection of stress in freshwater alga Poterioochromonas malhamensis exposed to silver nanoparticles

Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are one of the most used engineered nanomaterials. Despite progress in assessing their environmental implications, knowledge gaps exist concerning the metabolic perturbations induced by AgNPs on phytoplankton, essential organisms in global biogeochemical cycles and food-web dynamics. We combine targeted metabolomics, biouptake and physiological response studies to elucidate metabolic perturbations in algaPoterioochromonas malhamensisinduced by AgNPs and dissolved Ag. We show time-dependent perturbation of the metabolism of amino acids, nucleotides, fatty acids, tricarboxylic acids, photosynthesis and photorespiration by both Ag-treatments. The results suggest that dissolved Ag ions released by AgNPs are the major toxicity driver; however, AgNPs internalized in food vacuoles contributed to the perturbation of amino acid metabolism, TCA cycle and oxidative stress. The metabolic perturbations corroborate the observed physiological responses. We highlight the potential of metabolomics as a tool for understanding the molecular basis for these metabolic and physiological changes, and for early detection of stress.

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Scientific Reports
Nature Publishing Group
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National Science Foundation
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