The interplay of metal oxide nanoparticles, environmental pollution, and health risks is key to all industrial and drinking water treatment processes. In this work we present a study using gel filtration chromatography for the analytical investigation of metal oxide nanoparticles in water, their coating with polydopamine, and their encapsulation within lecithin liposomes. Polydopamine prevents TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles from aggregation during chromatographic separation. Lecithin forms liposomes that encapsulate the nanoparticles and carry them through the gel filtration column, producing an increase of peak area for quantitative analysis without any change in retention time to affect qualitative identification. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that demonstrates the potential application of lecithin liposomes for cleaning up metal oxide nanoparticles in water treatment. Encapsulation of graphene quantum dots by liposomes would allow for monitoring of nanoparticle-loaded liposomes to ensure their complete removal by membrane ultrafiltration from treated water.

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Department of Chemistry

Zhao, X. (Xuhao), & Lai, E.P.C. (2018). Titania and zinc oxide nanoparticles: Coating with polydopamine and encapsulation within lecithin liposomes—water treatment analysis by gel filtration chromatography with fluorescence detection. Separations, 5(1). doi:10.3390/separations5010013