, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 1277–1285 | Cite as

Influence of single-walled carbon nanotubes on microbial availability of phenanthrene in sediment

  • X. Y. Cui
  • F. Jia
  • Y. X. Chen
  • J. Gan


Increasing production and use of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) will inevitably lead to release of these nanoparticles to aquatic ecosystems. Similar to black carbon (BC) particles, SWCNT have a high affinity for hydrophobic organic contaminants (HOCs) and therefore the presence of SWCNT in sediment may lead to altered bioavailability of HOCs. We compared SWCNT with biochar and charcoal on their effect on the microbial degradability of 0.05 mg kg−1 14C-phenanthrene (PHE) by Mycobacterium vanbaalenii PYR-1 in two sediments with different organic carbon (OC) contents. When the amendment rate of SWCNT or BC was 1 mg g−1, PHE mineralization was inhibited much more significantly by SWCNT than by either biochar or charcoal. After 360 h of incubation, the mineralized fraction of PHE in the presence of SWCNT was 59.5% of the non-amended control in the sediment with low OC content, and only 42.4% in the other sediment with a higher OC content. Analysis of the freely dissolved concentration (C free) using disposable polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) fibers showed that SWCNT decreased C free by 85–95%, apparently due to preferential sorption of PHE to SWCNT particles that had a much larger specific surface area and pore volume than biochar or charcoal. However, pre-interaction of SWCNT with dissolved organic matter (peptone, tannic acid, and humic acid) led to attachment of polar functional groups and reduced surface area on SWCNT, resulting in decreased PHE sorption and an alleviated effect on PHE biodegradation in the order of peptone > tannic acid > humic acid.


Carbon nanotubes Black carbon Bioavailability Phenanthrene PDMS fiber 



The work is financially supported by the grant from National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 40801198).

Supplementary material

10646_2011_684_MOESM1_ESM.doc (188 kb)
Procedure of the sediment-free biodegradation test, properties of BC materials and SWCNT (Table S1), properties of LL and SP sediment (Table S2), amount of DOM coated on SWCNT (Table S3), and the maximum mineralization fraction (P max) as well as the first-order rate constant (k) for the degradation of the dissolved PHE (Fig. S1) are available in the Supporting Information. Supplementary material 1 (DOC 188 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of California, RiversideRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental Science and TechnologyZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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