Natural organic matter composition and nanomaterial surface coating determine the nature of platinum nanomaterial-natural organic matter corona

Mohammed Baalousha, Mithun Sikder, Brett A. Poulin, Malak M. Tfaily, Nancy J. Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Natural organic matter corona (NOM corona) is an interfacial area between nanomaterials (NMs) and the surrounding environment, which gives rise to NMs' unique surface identity. While the importance of the formation of natural organic matter (NOM) corona on engineered nanomaterials (NMs) to NM behavior, fate, and toxicity has been well-established, the understanding of how NOM molecular properties affect NOM corona composition remains elusive due to the complexity and heterogeneity of NOM. This is further complicated by the variation of NOMs from different origins. Here we use eight NOM isolates of different molecular composition and ultrahigh resolution Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance-mass spectrometry (ESI-FT-ICR-MS) to determine the molecular composition of platinum NM-NOM corona as a function of NOM composition and NM surface coating. We observed that the composition of PtNM-NOM corona varied with the composition of the original NOM. The percentage of NOM formulas that formed PVP-PtNM-NOM corona was higher than those formed citrate-PtNM-NOM corona, due to increased sorption of NOM formulas, in particular condensed hydrocarbons, to the PVP coating. The relative abundance of heteroatom formulas (CHON, CHOS, and CHOP) was higher in the PVP-PtNM-NOM corona than in citrate-PtNM-corona which was in turn higher than those in the original NOM isolate, indicating preferential partitioning of heteroatom-rich molecules to NM surfaces. The relative abundance of CHO, CHON, CHOS, CHOP and condensed hydrocarbons in PtNM-NOM corona increased with their increase in NOM isolates. Furthermore, PtNM-NOM corona is rich with compounds with high molecular weight. This study demonstrates that the composition and properties of PtNM-NOM corona depend on NOM molecular properties and PtNM surface coating. The results here provide evidence of molecular interactions between NOM and NMs, which are critical to understanding NM colloidal properties (e.g., surface charge and stability), interaction forces (e.g., van der Waals and hydrphobic), environmental behaviors (e.g., aggregation, disso.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number150477
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Corona
  • Molecular properties
  • Nanomaterials
  • Natural organic matter
  • Platinum
  • Surface coating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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