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Issue 6, 2019
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Silver sulfide nanoparticles in aqueous environments: formation, transformation and toxicity

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Abstract

Sulfidation of silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) readily occurs in both urban sewage systems and sulfur-rich natural environments with formation of silver sulfide nanoparticles (Ag2S-NPs). It is essential to understand the transformation and fate of Ag2S-NPs in order to fully evaluate environmental impact of Ag-NPs. The review focuses on the formation and transformation of Ag2S-NPs from both thermodynamic and kinetic perspectives, particularly (i) the formation mechanism of Ag2S in various environmental scenarios, (ii) redox transformation of Ag2S caused by oxidation of S(−II) and (iii) effects of environmental matrices on the formation and transformation processes. In most cases, sulfidation of Ag-NPs causes a dramatic decrease in their toxicity due to the extremely low solubility of Ag2S, potentially restraining their short-term environmental impact. However, the transformation of Ag2S-NPs with potential release of Ag+ and in situ formation of Ag0 and Ag0/Ag2S-NPs hetero-nanostructures may possibly increase the toxicity. Mechanistically-based kinetic modeling has been proposed here to quantitatively describe the rate and extent of the transformation of Ag2S-NPs, with such models of value, at least, in validating proposed transformation mechanisms of Ag2S-NPs and, at best, in predicting their transformation behaviors under realistic environmental conditions.

Graphical abstract: Silver sulfide nanoparticles in aqueous environments: formation, transformation and toxicity

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
01 Feb 2019
Accepted
28 Apr 2019
First published
30 Apr 2019

Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2019,6, 1674-1687
Article type
Critical Review

Silver sulfide nanoparticles in aqueous environments: formation, transformation and toxicity

D. He, S. Garg, Z. Wang, L. Li, H. Rong, X. Ma, G. Li, T. An and T. D. Waite, Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2019, 6, 1674
DOI: 10.1039/C9EN00138G

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