Mineral particles with diameters on the scale of nanometers (nanoparticles) are important constituents of natural environments. The small size of such particles has a host of consequences for biogeochemical systems, which we will review in this chapter. We begin by briefly reviewing what is known about how and when nanoparticles form and the ways in which nanoparticles impact natural processes.

Nanoparticles form via a variety of inorganic and biological pathways and may be introduced into the environment as a consequence of human activity. They are widespread in the environment (Banfield and Navrotsky 2001; Penn et al. 2001;...

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