The more nanotechnology develops, the more likely the release of engineered nanoparticles into the environment becomes. Due to a huge excess of natural nanoparticles, the identification and quantification of engineered nanoparticles pose a big challenge to analysts. Moreover, identification in a qualitative sense and quantification by mass concentration alone are not sufficient, because the potential environmental hazard arising from engineered nanoparticles is controlled by many other properties of the particles. We discuss the most important methods of fractionation and detection of both natural and engineered nanoparticles, with a focus on the chemical nature of the particles, particle concentration, and particle size. Analyses should not rely on only one method; instead, several complementary methods should, if possible, be used. Coupled techniques should be further developed and increasingly applied. Dedicated techniques that are tailored to the search for a particular sort of engineered nanoparticles are more promising than universal approaches that search for any engineered nanoparticles.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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