Date of Award

12-1-2011

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Ma, Xingmao

Abstract

Use of Nano Zero Valent Iron (nZVI) for treatment of different halogenated hydrocarbons, arsenic and various other contaminants has been proved successful. However, with so much diversified use of nZVI in the field and heighted attention to engineered nanoparticles, the environmental fate and impact of the nZVI remains unknown. The goal of this project was to evaluate the effects of different types of nZVI on Typha latifolia, a common wetland plant and hybrid poplar (Populous deltoids x Populous nigra), a woody plant used in phytoremediation. Plants grown hydroponically in a green house were dosed with different concentration of bare or bimetallic nZVI (with 10% nickel coating) for one to four weeks. The results showed that bare nZVI had toxic effects to Typha in higher concentrations but enhanced growth of plants at lower concentrations. Bare nZVI did not significantly affect the growth of poplars but bimetallic nZVI did impede the growth. Bimetallic nano particles were significantly more toxic and resulted in death of Typha within a week of dosing. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) clearly showed the adsorption of the nZVI on the plant root surface, confirmed by Energy dispersive x-ray (EDX) analysis. Transmission electron microscope (TEM) and Scanning Transmission electron microscope (STEM) confirmed the uptake of nZVI by poplar plant, but such internalization was not observed in case of Typha. However, uptake of the nanoparticles was only limited to the root and the translocation of particles to the shoot was not observed.

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