Comparative Persistence of Engineered Nanoparticles in a Complex Aquatic Ecosystem

TitleComparative Persistence of Engineered Nanoparticles in a Complex Aquatic Ecosystem
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsEspinasse, BP, Geitner, NK, Schierz, A, Therezien, M, Richardson, CJ, Lowry, GV, Ferguson, L, Wiesner, MR
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Date Published03/2018

During nanoparticle environmental exposure, presence in the water column is expected to dominate long distance transport as well as initial aquatic organism exposure. Much work has been done to understand potential ecological and toxicological effects of these particles. However, little has been done to date to understand the comparative persistence of engineered particles in realistic environmental systems. Presented here is a study of the water column lifetimes of 3 different classes of nanoparticles prepared with a combination of surface chemistries in wetland mesocosms. We find that, when introduced as a single pulse, all tested nanoparticles persist in the water column for periods ranging from 36 h to 10 days. Specifically, we found a range of nanoparticle residence times in the order Ag > TiO2 > SWCNT > CeO2. We further explored the hypothesis that heteroaggregation was the primary driving factor for nanoparticle removal from the water column in all but one case, and that values of surface affinity (α) measured in the laboratory appear to predict relative removal rates when heteroaggregation dominates. Though persistence in the water column was relatively short in all cases, differences in persistence may play a role in determining nanoparticle fate and impacts and were poorly predicted by currently prevailing benchmarks such as particle surface preparation.

Short TitleEnviron. Sci. Technol.