Impact of surface coating and environmental conditions on the fate and transport of silver nanoparticles in the aquatic environment

Laura-Jayne Ellis, Eugenia Valsami-Jones (Contributor), Mohammed Baalousha (Contributor), Jamie Lead (Contributor)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
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The role of surface coating (polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and citrate) and water chemistry on the fate and behavior of AgNPs in aquatic microcosms is reported in this study. The migration and transformation of the AgNPs was examined in low(ultrapurewater-UPW) and high ionic strength (moderately hard water –MHW) preparations, and in the presence of modeled natural organic matter (NOM) of Suwannee River Fulvic Acid (SRFA). The migration and fate of the AgNPs in the microcosms was validated using a sedimentation-diffusion model and the aggregation behavior was monitored by UV–visible spectrometry (UV–vis). Dissolved and particulate Ag concentrations (% Ag) were analyzed by ultrafiltration methods. Imaging of the AgNPswas captured using transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
Results indicate that PVP-coated AgNPs (PVP-AgNPs) remained stable for 28 days with similarly distributed concentrations of the PVP-AgNPs throughout the columns in each of the water conditions after approximately 96 h
(4 days). The sedimentation-diffusion model confirmed PVP-AgNP stability in each condition, by showing diffusion dominated transport by using the original unaltered AgNP sizes to fit the parameters. In comparison, citrate AgNPs were largely unstable in the more complex water preparations (MHW). In MHW, aggregation dominated behavior followed by sedimentation/dissolution controlled transport was observed. The addition of SRFA to MHW resulted in small stabilizing effects, to the citrate coated AgNPs, producing smaller sized AgNPs (TEM)and mixed sedimentation and diffusion migration compared the studies absent of SRFA. The results suggest that surface coating and solution chemistry has a major impact on AgNP stability, furthermore the corresponding modeling will support the experimental understanding of the overall fate of AgNPs in the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-106
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date9 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2016


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