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Open AccessArticle

Real-Time Observation of Fibrous Zeolites Reactivity in Contact with Simulated Lung Fluids (SLFs) Obtained by Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

1
Institut of Geological Sciences, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 3+1, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
2
Paul Scherrer Institute, Forschungsstr 111, Villigen PSI, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2019, 9(2), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9020083
Received: 27 December 2018 / Revised: 13 January 2019 / Accepted: 22 January 2019 / Published: 29 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Zeolites)
Inhalation of fibrous erionite particles has been linked to malignant mesothelioma. Accordingly, erionite is considered the most carcinogenic mineral. The reactivity and the nature of erionite biotoxicity has been the subject of intensive research. Despite very close chemical and structural relationships between erionite and offretite, the reactivity of offretite in lung fluids remains unknown. In this paper, the interaction of erionite and offretite surfaces with simulated lung fluids was investigated by means of in situ atomic force microscope (AFM). To simulate different environments in the lungs, artificial lysosomal fluid (ALF) and Gamble’s solution were used. In ALF (4.15 < pH < 4.31) the dissolution of erionite and offretite surfaces was detected, as well as an evident removal of particles (mainly attributed to impurities) from the crystal faces. Instead, the growth of a layer of a yet unknown phase on the surface of both zeolites was observed during the interaction with Gamble’s solution (7.4 < pH < 8.48). The thickness of this layer reached a few tens of nanometers and covered all the observed areas. The understanding of the observed processes is of paramount importance, since they could be potentially involved in the mechanisms triggering the toxicological effects of erionite fibres. View Full-Text
Keywords: erionite; offretite; mineral fibres; surface interaction; zeolite erionite; offretite; mineral fibres; surface interaction; zeolite
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Giordani, M.; Cametti, G.; Di Lorenzo, F.; Churakov, S.V. Real-Time Observation of Fibrous Zeolites Reactivity in Contact with Simulated Lung Fluids (SLFs) Obtained by Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). Minerals 2019, 9, 83.

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