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Homoagglomeration and heteroagglomeration of TiO2, in nanoparticle and bulk form, onto freshwater and marine microalgae

AuthorsSendra, Marta ; Yeste, María Pilar; Gatica, José Manuel; Moreno-Garrido, Ignacio ; Blasco, Julián
TiO2 NPs
Bulk TiO2
Issue Date15-Aug-2017
CitationScience of the Total Environment 592: 403-411 (2017)
AbstractTiO2 nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs) are employed in many products (paints, personal care products, especially sunscreens, plastics, paper, water potabilization and food products) and are then released into the environment from these products. These nanoparticles present potential risk to freshwater and marine microalgae. The primary toxicity mechanism is adsorption between NPs and microalgae (heteroagglomeration); however, studies of interactions of this kind are scarce. We investigated the heteroagglomeration process that occurs between two forms of TiO2 material, nanoparticles and bulk, and three different microalgae species, and under different environmental conditions (freshwater and marine water), in order to assess the influence of pH and ionic strength (IS). The heteroagglomeration process was examined by means of co-settling experiments and the Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) approach. The homoagglomeration process (only NPs to NPs) did not show differences between culture media (freshwater and marine water). However, in the heteroagglomeration process between NPs and cells, IS played an important role. Ions can compress the electro-double layer between NPs and microalgae, allowing a heteroagglomeration process to take place, as shown by settling experiments. TiO2 NPs presented a settling rate higher than bulk TiO2. The DLVO theory could only partially explain heteroagglomeration because, in this model, it is not considered that NP-NP and Cell-Cell homoagglomeration co-occur. In this study neither the role of exopolymeric substances in the interaction between NPs and cells nor detoxification are considered. The authors suggest that the interaction between NPs and microalgae could be considered as the first stage in the process by which nanoparticles affect microalgae.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.127
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