Environmental nanoparticles found in soil systems and biosolids may pose a considerable risk to groundwater quality as contaminant carriers. Little effort has been invested in the characterization of natural nanocolloids compared to corresponding macrocolloids. This study involved physicochemical, mineralogical, and morphological characterizations of nanocolloids and macrocolloids fractionated from three Kentucky soils and one biosolid. Particle size and morphology were investigated using scanning/transmission electron microscopy and dynamic light scattering. Mineralogical composition was determined by X-ray diffraction and thermogravimetric and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy analyses. Zeta potentials and cation exchange capacities assessed surface charge and chemical reactivity. The estimated average hydrodynamic diameter of nanoparticles was nearly twice the ideal 100 nm range, apparently due to irregular particle shapes and partial aggregation. Nanoparticles were also found attached to surfaces of macrocolloids, forming macro-nano aggregates and obscuring some of their physical and chemical characteristics. However, nanocolloids exhibited greater surface reactivity, likely due to their smaller size, poor crystallinity, and morphological shape distortions. In spite of some behavior modification due to nanoaggregation phenomena, nanocolloids appeared to be much more potent vectors of contaminant transport in subsurface environments than their macrosize fractions. Nevertheless, their heterogeneous nature brings to light important considerations in addressing pollution prevention and remediation challenges.
|Journal||Applied and Environmental Soil Science|
|State||Published - 2014|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Soil Science
- Earth-Surface Processes