Influence of phosphate and solution pH on the mobility of ZnO nanoparticles in saturated sand.Sci Total Environ. 2014 Feb 15; 472:971-8.ST
The mobility of nanoparticles (NPs) strongly depends on the chemical characterization of the environmental medium. However, the influence of phosphate on NPs mobility was ignored by scientists despite the serious phosphate contamination in natural environments. Hence, the influence of phosphate and solution pH on the mobility of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) was investigated in water-saturated sand representative of groundwater aquifers, which encompassed a range of P/Zn molar ratios (P/Zn: 0-4) and pH (4.8-10.0). The transport of ZnO-NPs was dramatically enhanced in the presence of phosphate, even at a low P/Zn molar ratio namely 0.25, and the retention of ZnO-NPs in the saturated sand decreased with increasing P/Zn molar ratio. Moreover, attachment efficiencies (α) and deposition rates (kd) of ZnO-NPs rapidly decreased with increasing P/Zn molar ratio. In contrast, the solution pH had negligible effects on ZnO-NP transport behavior under phosphate-abundant condition (P/Zn: 4). The distinct effects may be explained by the energy interaction between ZnO-NPs and sand surface under different conditions. Interestingly, under phosphate-abundant condition (P/Zn: 4), solution pH could strongly affect the transport of Zn(2+) in the water-saturated sand. Overall, this study outlines the importance of taking account of phosphate into risk assessment of NPs in the environment.