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Engineered Nanoparticle Adhesion and Removal from Tomato Surfaces

Ovissipour, Mahmoudreza, Sablani, Shyam S., Rasco, Barbara
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2013 v.61 no.42 pp. 10183-10190
adhesion, aluminum, aluminum oxide, cherry tomatoes, environmental health, foods, isoelectric point, mass spectrometry, nanoparticles, pH, pollution, risk, silica, washing
Engineered nanoparticles (NPs) are being used in different industries due to their unique physicochemical properties. NPs may be toxic and could pose both public health and environmental contamination risks. In this study, two concentrations (50 and 500 μg mL–¹) of titania (TiO₂), silica (SiO₂), and alumina (Al₂O₃) were applied to contaminate the surface of cherry tomato as a food model, followed by washing with deionized water (DI) to remove the NPs from the tomato surfaces. The NP surface charge and hydrodynamic diameter results showed that the isoelectric point (IEP) for alumina was at pH 9–9.6, for silica at pH <3, and for titania was at pH 6.5–6.8; in addition, the highest hydrodynamic size for all NPs was observed at the IEP. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) indicated that the highest NP concentration was observed on tomato surfaces contaminated at the higher concentration (500 μg mL–¹) (P < 0.05). After the tomatoes had been washed with DI, alumina levels decreased significantly, whereas for titania and silica, no significant difference in NP concentration on tomato surface was observed following the washing treatment. This study shows that removal of NPs may be possible with a simple washing treatment but that removal of NPs is likely to be more effective when the moment ratio is >1, which can occur if the pH of the washing solution is significantly different from the IEP of NPs.