Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 97–111 | Cite as

Fate and risk of metal sulfide nanoparticles in the environment

  • Khan Ashfeen Ubaid
  • Xiaoxia Zhang
  • Virender K. Sharma
  • Lingxiangyu LiEmail author


With the rapid development of nanotechnology, metal sulfide nanoparticles have been widely detected in the environment including water, soils and sediments. Metal sulfides are considered as stable species in the environment, while transformation and risk of nanoparticles have attracted increasing attention due to their specific physicochemical properties compared to bulk materials. Here we review aggregation, sedimentation, chemical and biological transformations, and potential risk of silver sulfide (Ag2S), zinc sulfide (ZnS), copper sulfide (CuS), cadmium sulfide (CdS) and lead sulfide nanoparticles, and quantum dots such as ZnS and CdS. The review shows that both stability and risk of metal sulfide nanoparticles are highly dependent on environmental factors such as pH, inorganic salts and natural organic matter.


Metal sulfide Nanoparticles Aggregation Chemical transformation Environmental risk 



K. A. Ubaid and X. Zhang contributed equally to the present study. We thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21806141), Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (LY18B070011) and Fundamental Research Funds of Zhejiang Sci-Tech University (2019Q058) for financial support. The authors also thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions on this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryZhejiang Sci-Tech UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public HealthTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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