Analytical transmission electron microscopy (aTEM) and flow field flow fractionation (FlFFF) coupled to multi-angle laser light scattering (MALLS) and high-resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (HR-ICPMS) were utilised to elucidate relationships between trace metals and nanoparticles in contaminated sediment. Samples were obtained from the Clark Fork River (Montana, USA), where a large-scale dam removal project has released reservoir sediment contaminated with toxic trace metals (namely Pb, Zn, Cu and As) which had accumulated from a century of mining activities upstream. An aqueous extraction method was used to recover nanoparticles from the sediment for examination; FlFFF results indicate that the toxic metals are held in the nano-size fraction of the sediment and their peak shapes and size distributions correlate best with those for Fe and Ti. TEM data confirms this on a single nanoparticle scale; the toxic metals were found almost exclusively associated with nano-size oxide minerals, most commonly brookite, goethite and lepidocrocite.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemistry (miscellaneous)
- Environmental Chemistry
- Geochemistry and Petrology