Current status and future direction for examining engineered nanoparticles in natural systems
|Current status and future direction for examining engineered nanoparticles in natural systems
|Year of Publication
|Montao, MD, Lowry, GV, von der Kammer, F, Blue, J, Ranville, JF
The increasing manufacture and implementation of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) will continue to lead to the release of these materials into the environment. Reliably assessing the environmental exposure risk of ENMs will depend highly on the ability to quantify and characterise these materials in environmental samples. However, performing these measurements is obstructed by the complexity of environmental sample matrices, physiochemical processes altering the state of the ENM and the high background of naturally occurring nanoparticles (NNPs), which may be similar in size, shape and composition to their engineered analogues. Current analytical techniques can be implemented to overcome some of these obstacles, but the ubiquity of NNPs presents a unique challenge requiring the exploitation of properties that discriminate engineered and natural nanomaterials. To this end, new techniques are being developed that take advantage of the nature of ENMs to discern them from naturally occurring analogues. This paper reviews the current techniques utilised in the detection and characterisation of ENMs in environmental samples as well as discusses promising new approaches to overcome the high backgrounds of NNPs. Despite their occurrence in the atmosphere and soil, this review will be limited to a discussion of aqueous-based samples containing ENMs, as this environment will serve as a principal medium for the environmental dispersion of ENMs.