Size fractionation and characterization of nanocolloidal particles in soils

Z.Y. Tang, L.H. Wu, Y.M. Luo, Peter Christie

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76 Citations (Scopus)
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A protocol was developed to fractionate soil particles down to the nanocolloid scale by combining sieving, sedimentation, centrifugation, and cross-flow filtration (CFF). The validity of the method and the performance of the CFF system were tested by characterizing fractions using laser granulometry, electron microscopy, and chemical analysis. The 0.1-μm-pore-size membrane CFF system effectively retained nanocolloids (<0.1 μm) as shown by laser granulometry and observed directly by transmission electron microscopy. However, environmental scanning electron microscopy images of freeze-dried colloids were very different from their TEM counterparts, suggesting that sample preparation influenced microscopy imaging. Chemical analysis of Cu, Cd, and organic carbon in each fraction showed that the concentrations of these components increased as particle size decreased, indicating colloids and nanocolloids play an important role in retaining trace metals. Particle-size fractionation combined with chemical analysis and electron microscopy can provide insight into the nature and properties of nanocolloids in soil.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health
Early online date05 Feb 2008
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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