Tratnyek research article most accessed in Environmental Science & Technology

Environmental Science & Technology journal cover

03/21/08 Portland, Ore.

An article titled "Characterization and Properties of Metallic Iron Nanoparticles: Spectroscopy, Electrochemistry, and Kinetics"--authored by environmental and biomolecular systems professor Paul Tratnyek along with OHSU colleagues James Nurmi (research scientist), Vaishnavi Sarathy (student), and other colleagues from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Minnesota--has been featured as a "most accessed article of 2007" by the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Environmental Science & Technology, the flagship journal in environmental engineering published by the American Chemical Society (ACS), issues a list of its "most accessed articles" each year. Data for the list is compiled from web view data collected by the ACS, and is one measure of the impact an article has had in specific disciplinary communities.

The article presents research on the reactivity of nano-sized zero-valent iron, a material that has recently become the subject of intense study because of its potential for groundwater remediation or other environmental applications. As Tratnyek and his colleagues pointed out, however, most research that had been conducted on the efficacy of nano-sized zero-valent iron did not delve into a wide range of of potentially significant variables. After spectroscopic, electrochemical, and kinetic analysis of the two predominant preparations of nano-sized zero-valent iron, Tratnyek and his colleagues were able to offer a great deal of additional experimental evidence for the character and properties of the particles.

Implications of their research include the suggestion that the high degree of effectiveness in reducing contaminants often ascribed to the particles is due mostly to the large amount of surface area used in laboratory tests with these materials. The particles do, however, have a significant effect on byproducts formed when the particles interact with contaminants. In particular, the low levels of chloroform released when the particles interact with carbon tetrachloride contaminants may offer an effective new chemical technology for remediation of carbon tetrachloride contaminated groundwater.