Quantum Dots often consist of a heavy metal core with a coating of organic substances which are intended to stabilise the particles. Because of their production and use, they are present almost only in aqueous suspensions; hence, the studies deal exclusively with the behaviour in water. The behaviour of Quantum Dots in the aquatic environment is largely determined by the solubility of the metal components.


Under certain conditions this coating can be lost, which can lead to leaching of toxic heavy metals. Part of these dissolved metals could be bound by numerous compounds present in the environment (dissolved organic materials, proteins) and are therefore no longer available for organisms [1,2].

Depending on the type of organic coating, agglomeration and sedimentation of the QDs occur under specific environmental conditions [1]. Quantum Dots interact with compounds present in the environment (dissolved organic materials, alginates, metal ions), which either bind to the particles, change their agglomeration and sedimentation behaviour, or restrict the fluorescence of the particles [3,4]. Quantum Dots can slow down the microbial decomposition of dead organic materials in the environment [5].

In general, when present in the environment over longer periods of time, the particles seem to dissolve and release e.g. Cadmium ions [6].


Literature arrow down

  1. Mahendra, S et al. (2008), Environ Sci Technol, 42(24): 9424-9430.
  2. Lee, S et al. (2011), J Nanopart Res, 13(7): 3051-3061.
  3. Slaveykova, VI et al. (2009), Environ Pollut, 157(12): 3445-3450.
  4. Zhang, Y et al. (2008), Environ Sci Technol, 42(1): 321-325.
  5. Gao, J et al. (2011), J Hazard Mater, 186(1): 940-945.
  6. Pace, HE et al. (2010), Environ Toxicol Chem, 29(6): 1338-1344.


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