Are nanoplastics able to bind significant amount of metals? The lead example

Abstract : The nanoscale size of plastic debris makes them potential efficient vectors of many pollutants and more especially of metals. In order to evaluate this ability, nanoplastics were produced from microplastics collected on a beach exposed to the North Atlantic Gyre. The nanoplastics were characterized using multi-dimensional methods: asymmetrical flow field flow fractionation and dynamic light scattering coupled to several detectors. Lead (II) adsorption kinetics, isotherm and pH-edge were then carried out. The sorption reached a steady state after around 200 min. The maximum sorption capacity varied between 97% and 78.5% for both tested Pb concentrations. Lead (II) adsorption kinetics is controlled by chemical reactions with the nanoplastics surface and to a lesser extent by intraparticle diffusion. Adsorption isotherm modeling using Freundlich model demonstrated that NPG are strong adsorbents equivalent to hydrous ferric oxides such as ferrihydrite (log against 11.76 for NPG and ferrihydrite, respectively). The adsorption is dependent upon pH, in response to the Pb(II) adsorption by the oxygenated binding sites developed on account of the surface UV oxidation under environmental conditions. They could be able to compete with Fe or humic colloids for Pb binding regards to their amount and specific areas. Nanoplastics could therefore be efficient vectors of Pb and probably of many other metals as well in the environment.
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Mélanie Davranche, Cloé Veclin, Anne-Catherine Pierson-Wickmann, Hind El Hadri, Bruno Grassl, et al.. Are nanoplastics able to bind significant amount of metals? The lead example. Environmental Pollution, Elsevier, 2019, 249, pp.940-948. ⟨10.1016/j.envpol.2019.03.087⟩. ⟨insu-02080759⟩

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