Jump to main content
Jump to site search
PLANNED MAINTENANCE Close the message box

Scheduled maintenance work on Wednesday 27th March 2019 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (GMT).

During this time our website performance may be temporarily affected. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and thank you for your patience.

Issue 2, 2014
Previous Article Next Article

Effect of natural organic matter on the disagglomeration of manufactured TiO2 nanoparticles

Author affiliations


One major concern in the fate of nanomaterials in aquatic systems is the lack of data on nanomaterial transformations under relevant environmental conditions. The disagglomeration of aggregates composed of manufactured anatase titanium dioxide nanoparticles is investigated here in the presence of alginate and Suwannee River humic acids at varying concentrations using dynamic light scattering and electrophoretic measurements. Stability of TiO2 nanoparticle agglomerates at typical environmental concentrations of natural organic matter is discussed at a pH value corresponding to the point of zero charge of TiO2 nanoparticles. In this scenario, the surface charge of TiO2 is neutralized, allowing the nanoparticles to form large agglomerates. Alginate and Suwannee River humic acids exhibit a negative structural charge under this pH condition and adsorption of both natural polyelectrolytes on the surface of nanoparticle agglomerates leads to disagglomeration and significant redispersion of TiO2 nanoparticles into fragments. Results indicate that both electrostatic forces and steric interactions play key roles during the disagglomeration process and that the physicochemical properties of natural organic matter are found to influence the kinetics and importance of fragmentation in the disagglomeration process. Most importantly, our data indicate that the presence of natural organic matter at typical environmental concentrations induces significant disagglomeration of large submicron nanoparticle agglomerates. Such a result constitutes an important outcome with regards to the risk associated with manufactured nanoparticles by including the possible transformations of the micron size range structures they can form.

Graphical abstract: Effect of natural organic matter on the disagglomeration of manufactured TiO2 nanoparticles

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 22 Oct 2013, accepted on 09 Jan 2014 and first published on 28 Jan 2014

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3EN00061C
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2014,1, 154-160

  •   Request permissions

    Effect of natural organic matter on the disagglomeration of manufactured TiO2 nanoparticles

    F. Loosli, P. Le Coustumer and S. Stoll, Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2014, 1, 154
    DOI: 10.1039/C3EN00061C

Search articles by author