Matching Items (2)

153798-Thumbnail Image.png

Metal oxide nanoparticles in electrospun polymers and their fate in aqueous waste streams

Description

Nanotechnology is becoming increasingly present in our environment. Engineered nanoparticles (ENPs), defined as objects that measure less than 100 nanometers in at least one dimension, are being integrated into commercial

Nanotechnology is becoming increasingly present in our environment. Engineered nanoparticles (ENPs), defined as objects that measure less than 100 nanometers in at least one dimension, are being integrated into commercial products because of their small size, increased surface area, and quantum effects. These special properties have made ENPs antimicrobial agents in clothing and plastics, among other applications in industries such as pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, and prosthetics. This thesis incorporates investigations into both application of nanoparticles into polymers as well as implications of nanoparticle release into the environment. First, the integration of ENPs into polymer fibers via electrospinning was explored. Electrospinning uses an external electric field applied to a polymer solution to produce continuous fibers with large surface area and small volume, a quality which makes the fibers ideal for water and air purification purposes. Indium oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles were embedded in polyvinylpyrrolidone and polystyrene. Viscosity, critical voltage, and diameter of electrospun fibers were analyzed in order to determine the effects of nanoparticle integration into the polymers. Critical voltage and viscosity of solution increased at 5 wt% ENP concentration. Fiber morphology was not found to change significantly as a direct effect of ENP addition, but as an effect of increased viscosity and surface tension. These results indicate the possibility for seamless integration of ENPs into electrospun polymers. Implications of ENP release were investigated using phase distribution functional assays of nanoscale silver and silver sulfide, as well as photolysis experiments of nanoscale titanium dioxide to quantify hydroxyl radical production. Functional assays are a means of screening the relevant importance of multiple processes in the environmental fate and transport of ENPs. Four functional assays – water-soil, water-octanol, water-wastewater sludge and water-surfactant – were used to compare concentrations of silver sulfide ENPs (Ag2S-NP) and silver ENPs (AgNP) capped by four different coatings. The functional assays resulted in reproducible experiments which clearly showed variations between nanoparticle phase distributions; the findings may be a product of the effects of the different coatings of the ENPs used. In addition to phase distribution experiments, the production of hydroxyl radical (HO•) by nanoscale titanium dioxide (TiO2) under simulated solar irradiation was investigated. Hydroxyl radical are a short-lived, highly reactive species produced by solar radiation in aquatic environments that affect ecosystem function and degrades pollutants. HO• is produced by photolysis of TiO2 and nitrate (NO3-); these two species were used in photolysis experiments to compare the relative loads of hydroxyl radical which nanoscale TiO2 may add upon release to natural waters. Para-chlorobenzoic acid (pCBA) was used as a probe. Measured rates of pCBA oxidation in the presence of various concentrations of TiO2 nanoparticles and NO3- were utilized to calculate pseudo first order rate constants. Results indicate that, on a mass concentration basis in water, TiO2 produces hydroxyl radical steady state concentrations at 1.3 times more than the equivalent amount of NO3-; however, TiO2 concentrations are generally less than one order of magnitude lower than concentrations of NO3-. This has implications for natural waterways as the amount of nanoscale TiO2 released from consumer products into natural waterways increases in proportion to its use.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

154002-Thumbnail Image.png

Unearthing the antibacterial activity of a natural clay deposit

Description

The discovery and development of novel antibacterial agents is essential to address the rising health concern over antibiotic resistant bacteria. This research investigated the antibacterial activity of a natural clay

The discovery and development of novel antibacterial agents is essential to address the rising health concern over antibiotic resistant bacteria. This research investigated the antibacterial activity of a natural clay deposit near Crater Lake, Oregon, that is effective at killing antibiotic resistant human pathogens. The primary rock types in the deposit are andesitic pyroclastic materials, which have been hydrothermally altered into argillic clay zones. High-sulfidation (acidic) alteration produced clay zones with elevated pyrite (18%), illite-smectite (I-S) (70% illite), elemental sulfur, kaolinite and carbonates. Low-sulfidation alteration at neutral pH generated clay zones with lower pyrite concentrations pyrite (4-6%), the mixed-layered I-S clay rectorite (R1, I-S) and quartz.

Antibacterial susceptibility testing reveals that hydrated clays containing pyrite and I-S are effective at killing (100%) of the model pathogens tested (E. coli and S. epidermidis) when pH (< 4.2) and Eh (> 450 mV) promote pyrite oxidation and mineral dissolution, releasing > 1 mM concentrations of Fe2+, Fe3+ and Al3+. However, certain oxidized clay zones containing no pyrite still inhibited bacterial growth. These clays buffered solutions to low pH (< 4.7) and oxidizing Eh (> 400 mV) conditions, releasing lower amounts (< 1 mM) of Fe and Al. The presence of carbonate in the clays eliminated antibacterial activity due to increases in pH, which lower pyrite oxidation and mineral dissolution rates.

The antibacterial mechanism of these natural clays was explored using metal toxicity and genetic assays, along with advanced bioimaging techniques. Antibacterial clays provide a continuous reservoir of Fe2+, Fe3+ and Al3+ that synergistically attack pathogens while generating hydrogen peroxide (H2O¬2). Results show that dissolved Fe2+ and Al3+ are adsorbed to bacterial envelopes, causing protein misfolding and oxidation in the outer membrane. Only Fe2+ is taken up by the cells, generating oxidative stress that damages DNA and proteins. Excess Fe2+ oxidizes inside the cell and precipitates Fe3+-oxides, marking the sites of hydroxyl radical (•OH) generation. Recognition of this novel geochemical antibacterial process should inform designs of new mineral based antibacterial agents and could provide a new economic industry for such clays.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015