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Environ Pollut. 2013 Jul;178:59-64. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2013.03.003. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Sorption, dissolution and pH determine the long-term equilibration and toxicity of coated and uncoated ZnO nanoparticles in soil.

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Department of Ecological Science, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


To assess the effect of long-term dissolution on bioavailability and toxicity, triethoxyoctylsilane coated and uncoated zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NP), non-nano ZnO and ZnCl2 were equilibrated in natural soil for up to twelve months. Zn concentrations in pore water increased with time for all ZnO forms but peaked at intermediate concentrations of ZnO-NP and non-nano ZnO, while for coated ZnO-NP such a clear peak only was seen after 12 months. Dose-related increases in soil pH may explain decreased soluble Zn levels due to fixation of Zn released from ZnO at higher soil concentrations. At T = 0 uncoated ZnO-NP and non-nano ZnO were equally toxic to the springtail Folsomia candida, but not as toxic as coated ZnO-NP, and ZnCl2 being most toxic. After three months equilibration toxicity to F. candida was already reduced for all Zn forms, except for coated ZnO-NP which showed reduced toxicity only after 12 months equilibration.

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