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Nanoparticles have found and occupied a special niche in the modern world of production and consumption as a result of the diverse special properties they have. These microparticles have been incorporated in the production of agricultural, industrial, consumer, health and medical products, among others. The production and the subsequent usage of these nano-materials follow the consideration of their special properties in which chemical properties are of major concern. There are distinctive properties which make such materials widely utilized; though they are important for the use in the various fields of production, these may not necessarily have similar positive impacts on the environment. The effects and significance of nanoparticles, however, depend on their nature. The impact of a metal-containing nanoparticle differs quite greatly from those effects exhibited by carbon-based micro-particles. Silver nanoparticle belongs to the category of metal-containing nanoparticles, which are a group of particles that is believed to have higher penetration to the environment. The high level of entry into the environment results from the use of dispersive techniques in its application (Ju-Nam and Lead 399).
Silver nanoparticles like many other types of nanoparticles are changed in the environment. The changes which occur in microscopic material are determined by several factors, including the nature of surface of the particle and the environmental compositions under which the particle is put in. Despite of the nature of changes, they all occur through the transformation of the silver metallic part, which reacts either with the organic or inorganic substances or ligands. The different ligands have diverse transformation effects relating to the nanoparticle’s physical, chemical and toxicological properties (Nowack and Bucheli 7).
Transformation effects on ph2ysical and chemical stability
Electrostatic technique is one of the methods through which silver nanoparticles are transformed. During this process, hydrogen atoms are used to react with the particles forming a ligand with a hydrogen nanoparticle. Another material which is commonly involved in the electrostatic transformation is citrate, but this is not available in the environment. There are also those nanoparticles which are produced with a coated substance by the use of steric method. Finally, silver nanoparticle may be transformed using an integrated electrosteric technique. Applying different techniques produces a wide variety of surface charges and aggregations, which may be influenced by the environmental conditions. It is established that the presence of acidic environments and higher ionic strength in divalent cationic conditions favor electrostatic technique, while pH conditions and ionic strengths have less influence on reactions leading to steric and surface charge processes (Nowack and Bucheli 7).
Transformation effects on toxicity
As mentioned earlier, the unique properties of silver nanoparticles have a great impact on its toxicity within the environment. The particle becomes toxic in the environment when the ionic silver made available reacts with it. The nanoparticles may be made available to the environment through different processes. In the environment, silver reacts with sulfur available in organic and inorganic forms. They strongly bind together in low and high concentrations of aqueous conditions, including fresh, salty and wastewater environments. The reactions of sulfur with silver nanoparticles are important because sulfidation significantly reduces the toxicological effects of the particle. This occurs with the formation of silver sulfide, which is a compound of low solubility (Ju-Nam and Lead 405).
In conclusion, we note that nanotechnology, especially with the applications of silver nanomaterials, is a key innovation in scientific advancement. Though it may have a great potential for further improving of productivity, residue materials have associated detrimental effects with the environment, and the extent of their impacts depends on the nature of the surface, and its composition. The negative environmental effects are greatly lowered with sulfidation and aggregation processes which reduce its solubility.
Ju-Nam, Yon and Jamie R. Lead. “Manufactured nanoparticles: an overview of their chemistry, Interactions and potential environmental implications.” Scientific Total Environment 400.1-3(2008): 396-414. Print.
Nowack, Boashan and TD Bucheli. “Occurrence, behavior and effects of nanoparticles in the environment.” Environmental Pollution 150.1(2007): 5-22. Print