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Aggregation is a key process for determining the environmental behavior and impact of a nanoparticle (NP). Since organophosphate esters (OPEs), which are recognized as emerging contaminants, are distributed widely in the natural aquatic environment, they may contribute to interacting with NPs and ultimately influence their transport and fate. Here, we investigated two typical organophosphate esters OPEs on aggregation the Fe2O3 NP in aquatic environments. The results showed that both tri-ethylhexyl phosphate (TEHP) and tris (chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCPP) improved the colloidal stability of Fe2O3 NP in artificial water and environmental matrices. TEHP exhibited an obvious effect than TCPP on the Zeta potential and aggregation rates of Fe2O3 NP in artificial water. In the presence of electrolyte, 10 mg/L TCPP and TEHP increased the critical coagulation concentration (CCC) by 3.6 times and 17.4 times, respectively. Compared with pore-water, the aggregation rates of Fe2O3 NP in river water were slightly higher than those in pore-water, which can be attributed to the higher DOC in pore-water. We suggested that the high hydrophobicity and molecular weight of OPEs were considered important factors against the aggregation of Fe2O3 NP in water. Greater surface charge and steric hindrance originating from TCPP and TEHP dominated the colloidal stability of Fe2O3 NP.


Yucheng Zhang, Yongfeng Shi, Xiaotong Su, Nora F Y Tam, Huifang Lei, Zihui Chen, Qihang Wu. Aggregation of Fe2O3 nanoparticle in the presence of organophosphate esters (OPEs). Water science and technology : a journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research. 2022 Apr;85(8):2423-2431

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PMID: 35486465

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