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Environ Pollut. 2013 May;176:193-7. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2013.01.029. Epub 2013 Feb 21.

Transformation of four silver/silver chloride nanoparticles during anaerobic treatment of wastewater and post-processing of sewage sludge.

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Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation, University of South Australia, Building X, Mawson Lakes Campus, South Australia 5095, Australia.


The increasing use of silver (Ag) nanoparticles [containing either elemental Ag (Ag-NPs) or AgCl (AgCl-NPs)] in commercial products such as textiles will most likely result in these materials reaching wastewater treatment plants. Previous studies indicate that a conversion of Ag-NPs to Ag2S is to be expected during wastewater transport/treatment. However, the influence of surface functionality, the nature of the core structure and the effect of post-processing on Ag speciation in sewage sludge/biosolids has not been investigated. This study aims at closing these knowledge gaps using bench scale anaerobic digesters spiked with Ag nitrate, three different types of Ag-NPs, and AgCl-NPs at environmentally realistic concentrations. The results indicate that neither surface functionality nor the different compositions of the NP prevented the formation of Ag2S. Silver sulfides, unlike the sulfides of other metals present in sewage sludge, were stable over a six month period simulating composting/stockpiling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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