Identification of inhalable rutile and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) nanoparticles in the atmospheric dust

Ana L. Gallego-Hernández, Diana Meza-Figueroa, Judith Tanori, Mónica Acosta-Elías, Belem González-Grijalva, Juan F. Maldonado-Escalante, Sarai Rochín-Wong, Diego Soto-Puebla, Sofia Navarro-Espinoza, Roberto Ochoa-Contreras, Martín Pedroza-Montero*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Addressing the presence of rutile nanoparticles (NPs) in the air is a work in progress, and the development of methodologies for the identification of NPs in atmospheric dust is essential for the assessment of its toxicological effects. To address this issue, we selected the fast growing desertic city of Hermosillo in northern Mexico. Road dust (n = 266) and soils (n = 10) were sampled and bulk Ti-contents were tested by portable X-ray fluorescence. NPs were extracted from atmospheric dust by PM1.0-PTFE filters and further characterized by Confocal Raman Microscopy, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) coupled to Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Results showed (i) the average concentration of Ti in road dust (3447 mg kg−1) was similar to natural values and worldwide urban dusts; (ii) the bulk geochemistry was not satisfactory for Ti-NPs identification; (iii) 76% of the total extracted PM1.0 sample corresponded to NPs; (iv) mono-microaggregates of rutile NPs were identified; (v) ubiquitous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were linked to NPs. The genotoxicity of rutile and PAHs, in connection with NPs content, make us aware of a crucial emerging environmental issue of significant health concern, justifying further research in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114006
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - May 2020

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  • Arid areas
  • Atmospheric dust
  • PM


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