Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.98, No.20, 8457-8468, 2014
Impacts of engineered nanomaterials on microbial community structure and function in natural and engineered ecosystems
In natural and engineered environments, microorganisms often exist as complex communities, which are key to the health of ecosystems and the success of bioprocesses in various engineering applications. With the rapid development of nanotechnology in recent years, engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) have been considered one type of emerging contaminants that pose great potential risks to the proper function of microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems. The impacts of ENMs on microorganisms have attracted increasing research attentions; however, most studies focused on the antimicrobial activities of ENMs at single cell and population level. Elucidating the influence of ENMs on microbial communities represents a critical step toward a comprehensive understanding of the ecotoxicity of ENMs. In this mini-review, we summarize and discuss recent research work on the impacts of ENMs on microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems, with an emphasis on their influences on the community structure and function. We also highlight several important research topics which may be of great interest to the research community.