Carbon nanomaterials in clean and contaminated soils: environmental implications and applications
Abstract. The exceptional sorptive ability of carbon nanomaterials (CNMs) for hydrophobic organic contaminants (HOCs) is driven by their characteristically large reactive surface areas and highly hydrophobic nature. Given these properties, it is possible for CNMs to impact on the persistence, mobility and bioavailability of contaminants within soils, either favourably through sorption and sequestration, hence reducing their bioavailability, or unfavourably through increasing contaminant dispersal. This review considers the complex and dynamic nature of both soil and CNM physicochemical properties to determine their fate and behaviour, together with their interaction with contaminants and the soil microflora. It is argued that assessment of CNMs within soil should be conducted on a case-by-case basis and further work to assess the long-term stability and toxicity of sorbed contaminants, as well as the toxicity of CNMs themselves, is required before their sorptive abilities can be applied to remedy environmental issues.