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Measuring ZnO nanoparticles available concentrations in contaminated soils using the diffusive gradient in thin-films (DGT) technique

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  • H. Pouran
  • M. Alkasbi
  • E. Lahive
  • S. Lofts
  • H. Zhang
Article number148654
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/11/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Science of the Total Environment
Number of pages8
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date24/06/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


A major gap in understanding nanomaterials behaviour in the environment is a lack of reliable tools to measure their available concentrations. In this research we use diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) for measuring concentrations of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZNO NPs) in soils. Available nanoparticle concentrations were assessed by difference, using paired DGT devices with and without 1000 MWCO dialysis membranes to exclude NPs. We used ZnO because its toxic effects are accelerated through dissolution to Zn2+. Our test soils had different pH and organic matter (OM) contents, which both affect the dissolution rate of ZnO NPs. Woburn (pH ≈ 6.9, OM ≈ 1.8%) and Lufa (pH ≈ 5.9, OM ≈ 4.2%) soils were spiked to a single concentration of 500 mg of ZnO NPs per 1 kg of soil and the available concentrations of ZnO NPs and dissolved zinc were evaluated in 3, 7, 14, 21, 28, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 day intervals using DGT. The results showed that the dissolution of ZnO NPs, as well as the available concentrations of both dissolved and nanoparticulate Zn, was much higher in Lufa soil than in Woburn. This work demonstrates that DGT can be used as a simple yet reliable technique for determining concentrations of ZnO NPs in soils and probing its dissolution kinetics. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.