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UNS:A Multi-Element ICP-MS Approach for Detection of Engineered Nanoparticles in the Environment


#1512695<br/>Ranville, James F.<br/><br/>Water, soil, and air all contain ultrafine particles, nanoparticles, that are far smaller than the width of a human hair. Nature creates nanoparticles constantly, and we may now be adding to this background of tiny particles by our development of nanotechnology. We put highly engineered nanoparticles in our medicines, foods, textiles, sunscreens, and many other products. This project seeks to use highly-developed analytical methods, along with developments in sampling of waters and sediments, to detect and quantify the nanoparticles released from nanotechnology and discriminate them from those created naturally.<br/><br/>This project will utilize recent developments in new nanometrologies to overcome the challenges (e.g. small size, low concentration, interfering natural NPs (NNPs)) for quantifying engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) in aquatic systems. Several new approaches to single-particle ICP-MS (spICP-MS) analysis, which have the capability to detect multiple elements on a particle-by-particle basis, will provide new data that will allow significant progress in risk assessment of nanotechnology. The analytical approach utilizes elemental composition differences, which exist between ENPs and the interfering NNPs, to provide ENP identification and quantification. The detection of multiple elements in NNPs will distinguish them from the simpler (single) element detection events characteristic of ENPs. The current "background" surface water NP concentrations (particle number, mass) and NP characteristics (e.g. size distribution, composition) will be determined. Heteroaggregation experiments, facilitated by multi-element spICP-MS analysis, will also be performed to establish how it effects the proposed nanometrologies and will also provide needed information on ENP fate in surface water. Collectively, this information is currently missing but critically important for determining the environmental health and safety effects of ENPs. <br/><br/>The research will be a collaboration with two established groups in research (USGS) and in public education (RiverWatch). Information acquired is expected to (i) reduce uncertainty in risk assessment of nanotechnology, (ii) provide the framework for performing ENP analysis within the USGS sampling network, with the ultimate goal of incorporating methodology from QUANT-Nano into routine water quality monitoring, (iii) through summer research experiences at CSM and field-trips we will train a diverse group of K-12 students and high school science teachers to "see the invisible" by developing simple experiments that educate about small particles in water. We will involve these students and educators in the monitoring of their local water resources, and (iv) educate the public on the importance of environmental monitoring to facilitate safe development of nanotechnology,

Ranville, James F
Colorado School of Mines
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