Effects of fulvic acids and electrolytes on colloidal stability and photocatalysis of nano-TiO2 for atrazine removal

  • Huijun He
  • Bin Wu
  • Chunping YangEmail author
Original Paper


The colloidal stability and photocatalysis of nano-TiO2 particles were investigated in the presence of fulvic acids (FA) and electrolytes (NaNO3, Na2SO4, Na3PO4) at different pH. Results showed that increasing FA concentration, the absolute value of zeta potential of nano-TiO2 increased and particle size decreased at all pH which promoted the colloidal stability of nano-TiO2. Particle size of nano-TiO2 was larger with the coexistence of FA and electrolytes than with FA only as the concentration of electrolytes was greater than or equal to 0.01 mol/L. The largest particle size occurred in the presence of Na3PO4, followed by Na2SO4 and NaNO3. Particle size of nano-TiO2 decreased with higher pH and stability further increased in the presence of FA and/or electrolytes. Nano-TiO2 stabilization was enhanced by increasing FA concentration when the solution pH was 7.0. However, the removal efficiency of atrazine by nano-TiO2 decreased with the increase in FA concentration. Adding electrolytes (0.01 mol/L), atrazine removal by nano-TiO2 further decreased, albeit slightly. The inhibitory effect of electrolytes on nano-TiO2 removal of atrazine was highest for Na3PO4, followed by Na2SO4, and NaNO3, which were consistent with the results of colloidal stability of nano-TiO2. These findings help to better understand the mechanisms and correlation between colloidal stability and photocatalysis of nano-TiO2 in the presence of FA and electrolytes.


Nano-TiO2 Fulvic acids Electrolytes Colloidal stability Photocatalysis Atrazine 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support by the International S&T Cooperation Program of China (Project Contract No. 2015DFG92750), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51478172, 51508538, 51278464 and 51521006), the Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province of China (Grant Nos. LY17E080002) and the Department of Science and Technology of Hunan Province of China (Contract Nos. 2017JJ2029 and 2017SK2362). They also thank Dr. Zhiqiang Shen for his valuable comments during the preparation and revising procedure of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts to declare.


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Environmental Science and EngineeringGuilin University of TechnologyGuilinPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Guangxi Key Laboratory of Theory and Technology for Environmental Pollution ControlGuilin University of TechnologyGuilinPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of Environmental Science and EngineeringGuangdong University of Petrochemical TechnologyMaomingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.College of Envrionmental Science and EngineeringHunan UniversityChangshaPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.Key Laboratory of Environmental Biology and Pollution ControlHunan UniversityChangshaPeople’s Republic of China

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