Lethal effects of silver nanoparticles on Perkinsus marinus, a protozoan oyster parasite

Cecilia Bravo-Guerra, Jorge Cáceres-Martínez, Rebeca Vásquez-Yeomans, Alexey Pestryakov, Nina Bogdanchikova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Perkinsus marinus, a World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) notifiable parasite, infects several species of oyster, including Crassostrea virginica and Crassostrea corteziensis. There is little information on possible treatments for this parasite, but the biocidal properties of silver nanoparticles (AgNP) suggest their potential use. The lethal effects of the Argovit™ formulation of AgNP was evaluated for the first time against hypnospores of P. marinus, a particularly resistant stage of the parasite that persists in the environment until favorable conditions occur for zoosporulation to be induced. Hypnospores were exposed to 1, 10 and 100 µg/mL of silver compounded in Argovit™ (corresponding to 0.009, 0.093 and 0.927 mM of Ag), to 157.47 µg/mL (0.927 mM) of silver nitrate (AgNO3) used as a positive control, and to polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP, 1570 µg/mL) used as a vehicle control. Hypnospores in culture medium without treatment served as a negative control. Dose-dependence after 24 h of exposure to AgNP was observed. A concentration of 0.093 mM AgNP resulted in 50% mortality of P. marinus. Treatment with 0.927 mM of silver, as AgNP or AgNO3, was highly lethal, with greater than 90% mortality. Silver nanoparticles were implicated in the deformation of hypnospores. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed AgNP within the hypnospore wall and involved in the degradation of lipid droplets in the cytoplasm. AgNP were effective in a saline medium, suggesting the utility of detailed studies of the physicochemical interactions of AgNP under these conditions. These results suggest investigations of possible effect of Argovit™ formulation of AgNP against stages of the parasite like trophozoites and tomonts that develop in tissues or hemolymph of infected oysters as well as studies on its effects in the host and environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107304
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Hypnospores
  • Perkinsus marinus
  • Silver nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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