The pore water transport of antimony and titanium, applied as nanoparticles (NPs), was studied by spiking stable suspensions of two different nanomaterials on the surface of an undisturbed floodplain soil. For preparation of stable dispersions, two different strategies were followed. (i) Comparable to those used in industrial applications: titanium dioxide nanoparticles, with an average diameter of 99 nm, were prepared by high-energy ball milling in water, whereas for (ii) antimony trioxide (Sb2O3; average diameter 121 nm) a dispersing agent (sodium salt of poly[(naphthaleneformaldehyde)sulfonate] (pNFS) in water) was used. The upper 17 cm of a floodplain soil (river Rhine, Germany) was sampled using the minimally invasive sediment or fauna incubation experiment (SOFIE® two compartment cell; 3 l volume each), which preserved the pore system of the soil. The cells were equipped with 450 and 100 nm filter probes at different depths providing a non-invasive sampling of the pore water. The pore water was sampled at different times (T = 0, 24, 48, 96 and 196 h) and analysed by inductively coupled plasma quadrupole mass spectrometry (ICP-QMS). Sb and Ti were transported via the pore water of the floodplain soil to a depth of 14 cm, corresponding to the maximum cell depth. The highest Sb concentration in the pore water was detected after 24 h at a depth of 5.5–8 cm. Although the spiked concentration was higher for Ti than for Sb, the total Ti concentration in the pore water of the spiked cell was lower. This indicates a stronger agglomeration of TiO2 NPs or a more intensive interaction of Ti with the solid matrix and a faster transport of Sb towards deeper soil layers. The results show that metal(loid)s from metal oxide NPs are transported in the soil pore water and, hence, have the potential to act as the source of contamination of deeper soil layers after soil surface contamination.
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