News Column

New Findings from State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology in the Area of Nanoparticles Described

May 28, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- A new study on Nanoparticles is now available. According to news reporting out of Beijing, People's Republic of China, by VerticalNews editors, research stated, "Naturally occurring Au nanoparticles (AuNPs) have been widely observed in ore deposits, coal, soil, and environmental water. Identifying the source of these naturally occurring AuNPs could be helpful for not only the discovery of Au deposits through advanced exploration methods, but also the elucidation of the biogeochemical cycle and environmental toxicity of ionic Au and engineered AuNPs."

Our news journalists obtained a quote from the research from the State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, "Here, we investigated the effect of natural/simulated sunlight and heating on the reduction of ionic Au by ubiquitous dissolved organic matter (DOM) in river water. The reductive process probed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy revealed that phenolic, alcoholic, and aldehyde groups in DOM act as reductive sites. Long-time exposure with thermal and photoirradiation induced the further fusion and growth of AuNPs to branched Au nanostructure as precipitation. The formation processes and kinetics of AuNPs were further investigated using humic acid (HA) as the DOM model, with comprehensive characterizing methods. We have observed that HA can reduce ionic Au(III) complex (as chloride or hydroxyl complex) to elemental Au nanoparticles under sunlight or heating. In this process, nearly all of the Au(III) could be reduced to AuNPs, in which HA serves as not only the reductive agent, but also the coating agent to stabilize and disperse AuNPs. The size and stability of AuNPs were highly dependent on the concentration ratio of Au(III) to HA."

According to the news editors, the research concluded: "These results imply that, besides biological processes, this thermal or photochemical reduction process is another possible source of naturally occurring AuNPs in natural environments, which possibly has critical impacts on the transport and transformation of Au and engineered AuNPs."

For more information on this research see: Thermal and photoinduced reduction of ionic Au(III) to elemental Au nanoparticles by dissolved organic matter in water: possible source of naturally occurring Au nanoparticles. Environmental Science & Technology, 2014;48(5):2671-9. (American Chemical Society -; Environmental Science & Technology -

Our news journalists report that additional information may be obtained by contacting Y. Yin, State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences , PO Box 2871, Beijing 100085, People's Republic of China. Additional authors for this research include S. Yu, J. Liu and G. Jiang.

Keywords for this news article include: Asia, Beijing, Engineering, Nanotechnology, Emerging Technologies, People's Republic of China.

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Source: Journal of Engineering