In Situ Measurement of CuO and Cu(OH)2 Nanoparticle Dissolution Rates in Quiescent Freshwater Mesocosms

Brian E. Vencalek, Stephanie N. Laughton, Eleanor Spielman-Sun, Sonia M. Rodrigues, Jason M. Unrine, Gregory V. Lowry, Kelvin B. Gregory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Recent studies have characterized copper-based nanoparticles (CBNPs) as relatively insoluble, raising potential persistence, accumulation, and toxicological concerns about their long-term application as agricultural pesticides. The dissolution rates of two CBNPs were measured in natural and artificial waters under both saturated and unsaturated conditions with respect to CuO(s) (total Cu, <1 mg/kg). Kocide 3000, an agricultural pesticide formulation with nanoscale Cu(OH)2 particles, rapidly dissolved with an experimental half-life of <8 h in natural water. Copper oxide nanoparticles were longer-lived, with an experimental half-life of 73 h in natural water. In contrast to prior reports of CuONP dissolution, our results suggest that even in moderately alkaline waters, CuO and Cu(OH)2 NPs may persist as particles for days to weeks under quiescent conditions in a freshwater environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-380
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 11 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Zeinah Elhaj Baddar for assistance with TEM. We acknowledge the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Environmental Protection Agency funding under NSF Cooperative Agreement EF-1266252, Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT), and CBET-1530563 (NanoFARM).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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