Few studies have examined the behavior of engineered aluminum nanoparticles in the environment. Generally, the solubility of these particles is considered to be low, i.e. only a few ions dilute from the particles in aqueous solution [1]. Under acidic conditions, however, increases the solubility, and more ions get into soil or water. Ions were described as toxic to the roots of crops.


In soils aluminum particles are mobile, but at low, acidic pH values the mobility is significantly higher [2]. In the presence of natural organic material more particles remain in the solution, i.e. the organic material influences the stability of a suspension of Al2O3[1,3,4].


Image of aluminium oxide nanoparticles taken by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). © Stanley et al. 2010Image of aluminium oxide nanoparticles taken by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). © Stanley et al. 2010Studies on the binding behaviour of various chemicals by nanoscale Al2O3 showed that different amounts were bound and toxicity of these chemicals is thus rather decreased [5]. At the same time, the binding of organic material from soil or water to Al2O3 particles increases the amount of bound chemicals (such as phenanthrene), compared with organic material alone or particles alone [6]. The effects of particle-bound chemicals on environmental organisms are not yet fully understood. However, note that the binding of organic matter on natural aluminum particles also occurs.



Literature arrow down

  1. Stanley, JK et al. (2010), Environ Toxicol Chem, 29(2): 422-429.
  2. Doshi, R et al. (2008), Environ Res, 106(3): 296-303.
  3. Davis, JA et al. (1981), Environ Sci Technol, 15(10): 1223-1229.
  4. Ghosh, S et al. (2008), Langmuir, 24(21): 12385-12391.
  5. Ra, JS et al. (2008), Environ Int, 34(2): 184-192.
  6. Yang, K et al. (2010), Environ Sci Pollut Res Int, 17(2): 410-419.


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