Wageningen University and Research Centre

Strong Sorption of Toxic Chemicals to Nanoplastics


Nanoplastics adsorb toxic chemicals up to 100 times stronger than microplastics. This follows from recent research at IMARES and the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management group. PhD student Ilona Velzeboer measured the adsorption of toxic chemicals to microplastics, nanoplastics, and other nanoparticles such as carbon nanotubes and fullerenes. This way, a good comparison with the nanoplastics could be made.

Carbon nanotubes bind chemicals

Prof. Water- en Sediment Quality Bart Koelmans: ‘The carbon nanotubes are number one in the binding of chemicals, but under the right circumstances nanoplastics really come very close’. If nanoplastics would be able to cross cell membranes, the extra nanoplastic associated toxic chemicals could provide an unforeseen risk. 


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