Titanium-doped PET nanoplastics of environmental origin as a true-to-life model of nanoplastic

Aliro Villacorta, Lourdes Vela, Michelle Morataya-Reyes, Raquel Llorens-Chiralt, Laura Rubio, Mohamed Alaraby, Ricard Marcos, Alba Hernández

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The increased presence of secondary micro/nanoplastics (MNPLs) in the environment requires urgent studies on their potentially hazardous effects on exposed organisms, including humans. In this context, it is essential to obtain representative MNPL samples for such purposes. In our study, we have obtained true-to-life NPLs resulting from the degradation, via sanding, of opaque PET bottles. Since these bottles contain titanium (TiO2NPs), the resulting MNPLs also contain embedded metal. The obtained PET(Ti)NPLs were extensively characterized from a physicochemical point of view, confirming their nanosized range and their hybrid composition. This is the first time these types of NPLs are obtained and characterized. The preliminary hazard studies show their easy internalization in different cell lines, without apparent general toxicity. The demonstration by confocal microscopy that the obtained NPLs contain Ti samples offers this material multiple advantages. Thus, they can be used in in vivo approaches to determine the fate of NPLs after exposure, escaping from the existing difficulties to follow up MNPLs in biological samples.

Original languageEnglish
Article number163151
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the total environment
Early online date1 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • Cell internalization
  • Characterization
  • Obtention
  • PET(Ti) nanoplastics


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