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Review

Finding Nano: Challenges Involved in Monitoring the Presence and Fate of Engineered Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles in Aquatic Environments

by 1,2,*, 3,4, 1,2,5 and 1,2
1
School of Engineering and Built Environment, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Logan, QLD 4222, Australia
2
Cities Research Institute, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Logan, QLD 4222, Australia
3
School of Science and Engineering, University of Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Brisbane, QLD 4502, Australia
4
Environmental Futures Research Institute, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Logan, QLD 4222, Australia
5
Climate Change Response Program, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Logan, QLD 4222, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Miren López de Alda Villaizán
Water 2021, 13(5), 734; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050734
Received: 6 February 2021 / Revised: 1 March 2021 / Accepted: 5 March 2021 / Published: 8 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Contaminants (ECs) in Water)
In recent years, titanium dioxide (TiO2) has increasingly been used as an inorganic ultraviolet (UV) filter for sun protection. However, nano-TiO2 may also pose risks to the health of humans and the environment. Thus, to adequately assess its potential adverse effects, a comprehensive understanding of the behaviour and fate of TiO2 in different environments is crucial. Advances in analytical and modelling methods continue to improve researchers’ ability to quantify and determine the state of nano-TiO2 in various environments. However, due to the complexity of environmental and nanoparticle factors and their interplay, this remains a challenging and poorly resolved feat. This paper aims to provide a focused summary of key particle and environmental characteristics that influence the behaviour and fate of sunscreen-derived TiO2 in swimming pool water and natural aquatic environments and to review the current state-of-the-art of single particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (SP-ICP-MS) approaches to detect and characterise TiO2 nanoparticles in aqueous media. Furthermore, it critically analyses the capability of existing fate and transport models to predict environmental TiO2 levels. Four particle and environmental key factors that govern the fate and behaviour of TiO2 in aqueous environments are identified. A comparison of SP-ICP-MS studies reveals that it remains challenging to detect and characterise engineered TiO2 nanoparticles in various matrices and highlights the need for the development of new SP-ICP-MS pre-treatment and analysis approaches. This review shows that modelling studies are an essential addition to experimental studies, but they still lack in spatial and temporal resolution and mostly exclude surface transformation processes. Finally, this study identifies the use of Bayesian Network-based models as an underexplored but promising modelling tool to overcome data uncertainties and incorporates interconnected variables. View Full-Text
Keywords: nano-TiO2; inorganic UV filter; sunscreen; surface coating deterioration; SP-ICP-MS; fate and transport modelling; risk assessment; Bayesian network; aquatic pollution nano-TiO2; inorganic UV filter; sunscreen; surface coating deterioration; SP-ICP-MS; fate and transport modelling; risk assessment; Bayesian network; aquatic pollution
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MDPI and ACS Style

Heilgeist, S.; Sekine, R.; Sahin, O.; Stewart, R.A. Finding Nano: Challenges Involved in Monitoring the Presence and Fate of Engineered Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles in Aquatic Environments. Water 2021, 13, 734. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050734

AMA Style

Heilgeist S, Sekine R, Sahin O, Stewart RA. Finding Nano: Challenges Involved in Monitoring the Presence and Fate of Engineered Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles in Aquatic Environments. Water. 2021; 13(5):734. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050734

Chicago/Turabian Style

Heilgeist, Simone, Ryo Sekine, Oz Sahin, and Rodney A. Stewart. 2021. "Finding Nano: Challenges Involved in Monitoring the Presence and Fate of Engineered Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles in Aquatic Environments" Water 13, no. 5: 734. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050734

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