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Stabilization of Fragmental Polystyrene Nanoplastic by Natural Organic Matter: Insight into Mechanisms

Abstract : The increasing amount of plastic debris in the environment and its disintegration into submicrometric particles are cause for concern. Due to the colloidal nature of nanoplastics, their environmental fate should be investigated separately from that of microplastics. Abiotic factors greatly influence the stability of nanoplastics. This will affect their residence time in the hydrosphere. Therefore, we investigated the behavior of two different nanoplastic models (with different sizes and shapes) with regard to ionic strength, pH, and varying concentrations of two types of natural organic matter: humic acid and sodium alginate. The results demonstrate that both types of natural organic matter enhanced the aqueous stability of nanoplastics over time at high ionic strengths. Depending on the organic matter’s nature, different stabilizing mechanisms were revealed using dynamic light scattering and asymmetrical flow field flow fractionation coupled to static light scattering. Humic acid provides electrostatic repulsion between particles, and some larger humic acid molecules provide steric hindrance. Sodium alginate sorbs onto and bridges separate particles and small aggregates of nanoplastics. The covered particles are stabilized by steric hindrance. The results highlight the importance of considering the properties of types of natural organic matter when assessing the behavior of nanoplastics in the environment.
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Contributor : Isabelle Dubigeon <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - 9:11:00 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - 3:33:04 AM

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Alice Pradel, Séléna Ferreres, Cloé Veclin, Hind El Hadri, Maud Gautier, et al.. Stabilization of Fragmental Polystyrene Nanoplastic by Natural Organic Matter: Insight into Mechanisms. ACS ES&T Water, In press, ⟨10.1021/acsestwater.0c00283⟩. ⟨insu-03185053⟩

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