Iron Oxide Nanoparticles: Side Effects of Natural Attenuation

Pesticides with nitro- functional groups (e.g., trifluralin) are commonly used nationwide. These compounds can be very mobile in the environment, especially after reductive transformation into the aniline species, which is both more toxic and more water-soluble. This transformation rate is dramatically increased in the presence of aqueous Fe(II) and iron oxides like goethite (α-FeOOH) and hematite (α-Fe2O3), which are common soil minerals in Minnesota and across the world. At the water-mineral interface, we seek to determine how iron oxide reactivity changes as a function of solution conditions and how recurrent exposures of model contaminants cause reactivity to evolve. By studying the transformation under environmentally-relevant conditions, we can predict pollutant transport and therefore prevent the contamination of water resources.

Project Staff: 

Jeanette Voelz, William A. Arnold, and R. Lee Penn