Nanoparticles and Organic Pollutants

Nanoparticles-and-Organic-PollutantsEngineered nanoparticles (ENP) have effects on human health that are strongly related to their surface properties. However, there is limited understanding of their fate, transport, toxicity and pollutant interactions.

Pollutants-colloid interaction
Nanoparticles suspended in natural water come in contact with pollutants. The unique properties of ENP are influenced by their large surface area relative to their volume, high interface energy and high surface-to-charge ratio density. The partitioning and phase distribution of hazardous organic compounds (HOC) can influence the fate and bioavailability of the contaminants in aquatic systems. There are a number of pollutants associated with partitioning of HOC to the particles. This partitioning has been shown to be inversely proportional to log solubility of HOC and the log of particle concentration. Dynamics of nanoparticle water partitioning can influence the speciation, thus, understanding the fate, transport and toxicological impact of persistent organic pollutants is critical. The fate of organic pollutants depends on their partitioning behaviour to nanoparticles and colloids.


  • TGA-GC-MS is used to study nanoparticle influence on adsorption and partitioning PAHs
  • Presence of nano-TiO2 increases partitioning of PAHs to water phase
  • Nanoparticles increase PAH partitioning
  • Naphthalene and phenanthrene have low water solubility but differing partitioning
  • Partitioning increases at higher pH
  • Absence of light makes the nanoparticles less hydrophilic and increases the distribution to the organic phase.