Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 9, pp 9293–9304 | Cite as

Effects of cerium oxide nanoparticles on bacterial growth and behaviors: induction of biofilm formation and stress response

  • Yi Xu
  • Chao Wang
  • Jun HouEmail author
  • Peifang Wang
  • Guoxiang You
  • Lingzhan Miao
Research Article


In this paper, the effects of cerium oxide nanoparticles (CeO2 NPs) on the group bacterial behaviors were elaborated. After 36-h cultivation, the biofilm biomass was enhanced by the sub-lethal concentrations of 0.5 and 2 mg/L CeO2 NP exposure. Meanwhile, the promoted production of total amino acids in microbes further resulted in the increased surface hydrophobicity and percentage aggregation. To resist the CeO2 NPs stress, the biofilm exhibited a double-layer microstructure, with the protein (PRO) and living cells occupying the bottom, the polysaccharide (PS), and dead cells dominating the top. The bacterial diversity was highly suppressed and Citrobacter and Pseudomonas from the phylum of γ-Proteobacteria strongly dominated the biofilm, indicating the selective and enriched effects of CeO2 NPs on resistant bacteria. The stimulated inherent resistance of biofilm was reflected by the reduced adenosine triphosphate (ATP) content after 4 h exposure. The increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the treatments of 8 h CeO2 NP exposure led to the upregulated quorum sensing signals of acylated homoserine lactone (AHL) and autoinducer 2 (AI-2), beneficial to mitigating the environmental disturbance of CeO2 NPs. These results provide evidences for the accelerating effects of CeO2 NPs on biofilm formation through oxidative stress, which expand the understanding of the ecological effects of CeO2 NPs.


CeO2 nanoparticles Biofilm formation Bacterial community Oxidative stress Quorum sensing signals 



We are grateful for the grants from the projects supported by the National Natural Science Funds for Excellent Young Scholar (No.51722902); the National Natural Science Funds for Creative Research Groups of China (No.51421006); the Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 91647206); the Outstanding Youth Fund of Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu, China (BK20160038); the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2018B671X14); and the Postgraduate Research & Practice Innovation Program of Jiangsu Province (KYCX18_0636) and PAPD.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4340_MOESM1_ESM.doc (21.8 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 22339 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resources Development on Shallow Lakes of Ministry of Education, College of EnvironmentHohai UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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