Impact of Nanoparticle Surface Properties on the Attachment of Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles to Sand and Kaolin.
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Soil texture has been found to be a critical factor in regulating the fate and transport of cerium oxide nanoparticles (CeONPs) in the terrestrial environment. However, the underlying mechanisms for the interactions between CeONPs and different components of soil are still poorly understood. The attachment of CeONPs onto two typical components of soil (sand and kaolin) in batch experiments were investigated to provide insights into the retention and bioavailability of CeONPs in soil. Surface properties of CeONPs, including surface charge and surface coating condition, had strong impacts on the interactions between CeONPs and soil particles. Positively charged CeONPs [CeONPs(+)] displayed the greatest attachment onto kaolin, whereas the negatively charged CeONPs [CeONPs(-)] showed poorest attachment onto sand. The attachment of CeONPs onto kaolin was significantly greater than onto sand, irrespective of surface charge. Homoaggregation of CeONPs increased the size of CeONPs on the surface of sand and kaolin. Extended Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (XDLVO) calculations agreed with the experimental observations that surface charge and coating condition of CeONPs played a vital role in the homoaggregation and adsorption of CeONPs. For CeONPs(-) coated with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), the steric repulsion between soil particles and CeONPs increases rapidly with the increase of maximum surface concentration of PVP. Adsorption isothermal fittings indicated that the adsorption of CeONPs onto sand and kaolin can be properly described by the Dubinin-Radushkevich isotherm. The results obtained in this study are crucial for the understanding of the fate and transport of engineered nanomaterials in the environment.