Impact of alginate concentration on the stability of agglomerates made of TiO2 engineered nanoparticles: Water hardness and pH effects

  • Frédéric Loosli
  • Philippe Le Coustumer
  • Serge Stoll
Research Paper


The stability of engineered nanoparticles in natural aquatic systems is of high interest for environmental risk assessment since an already important quantity of these reactive species is entering aquatic systems. In the present study, an important issue is addressed by investigating (i) the influence of divalent cations and water hardness (Mg2+ and Ca2+) in agglomerate formation and (ii) alginate concentration effect on the stability TiO2 agglomerates formed in environmental freshwater conditions (pH and total hardness) representative of Lake Geneva, France/Switzerland. Our results indicate that the presence of alginate at typical natural organic matter concentration strongly modifies the stability of TiO2 nanoparticle agglomerates by inducing their partial disagglomeration. Significant TiO2 nanoparticles redispersion and formation of small fragments are expected to be induced by alginate adsorbed layer formed at the nanoparticle surfaces within the agglomerates.

Graphical Abstract


TiO2 nanoparticles Alginate Metal oxide stability pH and water hardness Disagglomeration Environmental effects 



The authors are grateful to the financial support received from the Swiss National Foundation, project numbers 200020_152847 and 200021_135240. The work leading to these results has also received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under agreement no. NMP4-LA-2013-310451 (NanoMILE).

Supplementary material

11051_2015_2863_MOESM1_ESM.docx (406 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 405 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frédéric Loosli
    • 1
  • Philippe Le Coustumer
    • 2
    • 3
  • Serge Stoll
    • 1
  1. 1.Section des Sciences de la Terre et de l’Environnement, Group of Environmental Physical Chemistry, F.-A. Forel InstituteUniversity of GenevaVersoixSwitzerland
  2. 2.Université Bordeaux 3, EA 4592 Géoressources & Environnement, ENSEGIDPessacFrance
  3. 3.Université Bordeaux 1, UFR STMTalenceFrance

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