Interaction of silver nanoparticles with mediterranean agricultural soils: Lab-controlled adsorption and desorption studies

Laura Torrent , Eva Marguí , Ignasi Queralt , Manuela Hidalgo , Mònica Iglesias


Received September 14, 2018,Revised , Accepted March 20, 2019, Available online March 28, 2019

Volume 31,2019,Pages 205-216

The production of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) has increased tremendously during recent years due to their antibacterial and physicochemical properties. As a consequence, these particles are released inevitably into the environment, with soil being the main sink of disposal. Soil interactions have an effect on AgNP mobility, transport and bioavailability. To understand AgNP adsorption processes, lab-controlled kinetic studies were performed. Batch tests performed with five different Mediterranean agricultural soils showed that cation exchange capacity and electrical conductivity are the main parameters controlling the adsorption processes. The adsorption kinetics of different sized (40, 75, 100 and 200 nm) and coated (citrate, polyvinylpyrrolidone and polyethyleneglycol (PEG)) AgNPs indicated that these nanoparticle properties have also an effect on the adsorption processes. To assess the mobility and bioavailability of AgNPs and to determine if their form is maintained during adsorption/desorption processes, loaded soils were submitted to leaching tests three weeks after batch adsorption studies. The DIN 38414-S4 extraction method indicated that AgNPs were strongly retained on soils, and single-particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry confirmed that silver particles maintained their nanoform, except for 100 nm PEG-AgNPs and 40 nm citrate-coated AgNPs. The DTPA (diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid) leaching test was more effective in extracting silver, but there was no presence of AgNPs in almost all of these leachates.

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