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Journal Articles (Review Article) NanoImpact Year : 2023

The environmental fate of nanoplastics: What we know and what we need to know about aggregation

Abstract

The presence of nanoplastics in the environment has been proven. There is now an urgent need to determine how nanoplastics react in the environment and to assess the risks they may pose. Here, we examine nanoplastic homo- and heteroaggregation, with a focus on environmentally relevant nanoplastic particle models. We made a systematic analysis of experimental studies, and ranked the environmental relevance of 377 different solution chemistries, and 163 different nanoplastic particle models. Since polymer latex spheres are not environmentally relevant (due to their monodisperse size, spherical shape, and smooth surface), their aggregation behavior in natural conditions is not transferable to nanoplastics. A few recent studies suggest that nanoplastic particle models that more closely mimic incidentally produced nanoplastics follow different homoaggregation pathways than latex sphere particle models. However, heteroaggregation of environmentally relevant nanoplastic particle models has seldom been studied. Despite this knowledge gap, the current evidence suggests that nanoplastics may be more sensitive to heteroaggregation than previously expected. We therefore provide an updated hypothesis about the likely environmental fate of nanoplastics. Our review demonstrates that it is essential to use environmentally relevant nanoplastic particle models, such as those produced with top-down methods, to avoid biased interpretations of the fate and impact of nanoplastics. Finally, it will be necessary to determine how the heteroaggregation kinetics of nanoplastics impact their settling rate to truly understand nanoplastics' fate and effect in the environment.
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Dates and versions

insu-03962181 , version 1 (30-01-2023)

Licence

Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Alice Pradel, Charlotte Catrouillet, Julien Gigault. The environmental fate of nanoplastics: What we know and what we need to know about aggregation. NanoImpact, 2023, 29, pp.100453. ⟨10.1016/j.impact.2023.100453⟩. ⟨insu-03962181⟩
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