Nano-ZnO particles have been reported to be toxic to many aquatic organisms, although it is debated whether this is caused by nanoparticles per se, or rather dissolved Zn. This study investigated the role of dissolved Zn in nano-ZnO toxicity to Lemna minor. The technical approach was based on modulating nano-ZnO dissolution by either modifying the pH of the growth medium and/or surface coating of nano-ZnO, and measuring resulting impacts on L. minor growth and physiology. Results show rapid and total dissolution of nano-ZnO in the medium (pH 4.5). Quantitatively similar toxic effects were found when L. minor was exposed to nano-ZnO or the "dissolved Zn equivalent of dissolved nano-ZnO". The conclusion that nano-ZnO toxicity is primarily caused by dissolved Zn was further supported by the observation that phytotoxicity was absent on medium with higher pH-values (>7), where dissolution of nano-ZnO almost ceased. Similarly, the reduced toxicity of coated nano-ZnO, which displays a slower Zn dissolution, is also consistent with a major role for dissolved Zn in nano-ZnO toxicity. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.