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Title: Isotopic tracing of engineered nanomaterials in environmental samples
Author: Junk, Tabea Karla
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 8578
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2018
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The use of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in consumer products is becoming ever more prevalent due to their unique properties. As a consequence of their increasing use, the discharge of nanoparticles (NPs) to the environment is expected to rise rapidly in the following decades. Due to their novel material properties, the behaviour and fate of ENMs in natural compartments is unclear and there is insufficient knowledge regarding potential hazards which warrant further study. However, the study of ENM ecotoxicity is hampered by analytical challenges in resolving ENMs at environmentally relevant levels in complex natural samples. Over the past decade, the method of stable isotope tracing has been established as a useful and efficient tool for the detection and quantification of ENMs at environmentally realistic exposure concentrations. The basis of the technique is the application of NPs, which are prepared from and hence labelled with an enriched stable isotope of a constituent element. Isotopic measurements can then be applied for sensitive and selective detection and quantification of the labelled material. The work presented in this thesis covers different aspects of the stable isotope tracing methodology, as applied to Ag, ZnS and TiO2 (nano-) materials. In detail, the thesis presents (i) a new analytical technique, which applies precise isotopic analyses by multiple collector inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry, for the detection of isotopically labelled Ag NPs in diverse environmental samples at high yields and with low associated Ag blanks; (ii) results of a multigenerational exposure study that shows the uptake of Ag NPs in gonad and liver tissue of zebrafish and the transgenerational maternal transfer of Ag NPs; (iii) a scalable synthesis of sub-micron sized ZnS particles at yields of 10-40%; and (iv) an in-depth evaluation of the stable isotope tracing technique, in support of future application to the detection of TiO2 NPs.
Supervisor: Rehkämper, Mark ; Laycock, Adam Sponsor: Imperial College London
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral