Interaction of natural organic matter (NOM) with engineered nanoparticles (NPs) determine NP fate, transport, and environmental persistence. However, the effect of NOM chemical composition, structure, and concentration on aggregation kinetics and dissolution behavior of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are still poorly understood because of heterogeneity and variability in NOM and AgNP properties. Here, aggregation behavior of citrate-coated silver nanoparticles (cit-AgNPs with a z-average diameter of 18nm) was investigated in the presence of l-cysteine (l-cys) and N-acetyl l-cysteine (NAL-cys) using UV–vis spectroscopy. We also investigated the effect of Suwannee River fulvic acid (SRFA) and a NOM isolated from the Yukon River (YRNOM) on the stability of cit-AgNPs. The dissolution of cit-AgNPs decreased with increased L-cys and NAL-cys concentration from 0 to 10μM. The critical coagulation concentration (CCC) of cit-AgNPs decreased in the presence of l-cys and increased in the presence of NAL-cys. Similarly, l-cys destabilizes cit-AgNPs in the presence of SRFA. The differences in the stability of cit-AgNPs in the presence of l-cys and NAL-cys can be attributed to the differences in the functional groups in these two cysteine molecules. l-cys has both negatively charged carboxylic group and a positively charged amine group, resulting in bridging between different particles. NAL-cys is a derivative of cysteine wherein an acetyl group is attached to the nitrogen atom thus shielding the positive charge on the amine group and therefore eliminating the bridging interaction mechanism. SRFA and YRNOM enhanced the stability of cit-AgNPs and increased the CCC value to higher counter ion concentrations. The concentration of SRFA (1–5mgL−1) did not affect the CCC, whereas the increased concentration of YRNOM increased the CCC of cit-AgNPs to high Na+ concentrations likely due to increased sorption of higher molecular weight compounds on the surface of cit-AgNPs. The outcome of this study suggests the importance of understanding the molecular properties of NOM (e.g. functional groups and molecular weight) in determining cit-AgNP environmental behaviors.
Science of the Total Environment – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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