Special Issue "Nanomaterials to Monitor and Improve Environmental Quality"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 November 2022 | Viewed by 5514

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Ashok Vaseashta
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. International Clean Water Institute, Manassas, VA, USA
2. Biomedical Engineering and Nano Technologies Institute, Riga Technical University, Riga, Latvia
3. Ghitu Institute of Electronics Engineering and Nanotechnologies, Chisinau, Moldova
Interests: sensing/detection; nanomaterials; security; defense; foresight; water; ecological chemistry; sustainability
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Currently, major cities globally are in a state of continuous expansion and economic transformation. Booming global economic growth, on one hand, enhances the standard of living, while, on the other hand, it simultaneously presents enormous challenges for environmental ecology and the associated infrastructure needed to sustain well-being in the long-term. This dichotomy may be humanity’s grand challenge for the 21st century, regarding sustaining living standards and simultaneously benefiting from the economic expansion, while preserving ecological integrity. Hence, our entire human civilization confronts a series of critical challenges that represent the direct impacts of anthropogenic pollution on our ongoing existence, including our future industrial and social progress. The subject continues to unfold, as scientific community uses the nexus of technological innovations to balance the benefits of technological innovations with their environmental impact for our continued survival.

Effective solutions to the complexity of problems identified here will demand the integration of diverse scientific and technological disciplines. It is well known that materials approaching nanoscale dimensions exhibit characteristics that uniquely enable novel characteristics in unprecedented ways. Advances in the synthesis of such materials in reduced dimensions and characterization methods allow the means to study, understand, control, and even manipulate the transitional characteristics between isolated atoms and molecules and bulk materials. Recent functional and architectural innovations in nanoscale materials have initiated applications in chem-bio agents’ interrogation, environmental pollution sensing, monitoring, mitigation and remediation, energy harvesting and storage devices, plasmonics, in vivo analysis of cellular processes, and nano-biotechnology-based futuristic health and clinical medicine platforms. Nanotechnology-based sensor platforms enable the direct detection of chemical and biological agents in a label-free, highly multiplexed format over a broad dynamic range. The field is very active and rapidly developing and covers a wide range of disciplines.

The goal of this Special Issue is to form a repository of current and diverse research investigating the various aspects of nanomaterial-based sensors/detector, devices and systems to monitor and mitigate contaminants to improve environmental aspects and enhance safety and sustainability, by soliciting comprehensive reviews and articles of original research and emerging innovations. Topics of interest include:

  1. Nanomaterial-based sensors/detectors for environmental pollution interrogation with high specificity, selectivity and sensitivity;
  2. Nanomaterial-based environmental contamination mitigation strategies. Articles dealing with microplastics and returned pharmaceutics in water are of particular interest;
  3. Nanomaterials for sensing, detection and remediation of new and emerging contaminants;
  4. Integration of nanomaterials in internet of (every) thing, IoT devices;
  5. Nexus of technologies, foresight tools and multi-criteria decisions support analysis and risk assessment to understand and bridge knowledge gaps.

Prof. Dr. Ashok Vaseashta
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • nanomaterials for environmental sustainability
  • nanomaterials for environmental safety
  • nanomaterials for environmental security
  • nanomaterials for sustainable development
  • ecosystem of innovations
  • technology foresight
  • nanomaterials for pollution monitoring
  • nanomaterials for iot in sensing for sustainable management
  • nanomaterials for contamination mitigation
  • resources management

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Ecological Characterization and Bio-Mitigation Potential of Heavy Metal Contamination in Metallurgically Affected Soil
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(13), 6312; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12136312 - 21 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 380
Abstract
Heavy metals (HMs) remain persistent in soil for a long time and thus present a long-term threat of environmental pollution. In this study, the concentrations of some HMs (As, Cu, Zn, Pb, and Mo) in soil, potentially affected by the ex-operation of a [...] Read more.
Heavy metals (HMs) remain persistent in soil for a long time and thus present a long-term threat of environmental pollution. In this study, the concentrations of some HMs (As, Cu, Zn, Pb, and Mo) in soil, potentially affected by the ex-operation of a metallurgical plant—specifically, a copper smelter in Alaverdi Town, northeastern Armenia—were measured, based on which, the HM contamination and its ecological, biological, and health effects were assessed. Concentrations of HMs (Cu, Zn, and Pb) were also measured in different plant (leaves) and invertebrate species that occur in the soil over the metallurgical factory site in order to assess the potential for the bioremoval of HMs from the soil. The results showed that the ex-operation of the metallurgical facility created such contamination in the soil that it caused a noticeable loss of invertebrate biomass in the soil and posed ecological, non-carcinogenic (for children), and carcinogenic health hazards. The investigated plant and invertebrate species were characterized by different capacities for the accumulation of HMs from the soil, based on which the plant species Fraxinus excelsior, Acer platanoides, Robinia pseudoacacia, and Aesculus hippocastanum and the invertebrate species Deroceras caucasicum, Limax flavus, and Eisenia rosea are recommended to be used for the selective removal of HMs (Cu, Zn, and Pb) from the soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials to Monitor and Improve Environmental Quality)
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Communication
Cultivation of Solanum lycopersicum under Glass Coated with Nanosized Upconversion Luminophore
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(22), 10726; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112210726 - 13 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 766
Abstract
The effect of upconverting luminescent nanoparticles coated on glass on the productivity of Solanum lycopersicum was studied. The cultivation of tomatoes under photoconversion glass led to an increase in plant productivity and an acceleration of plant adaptation to ultraviolet radiation. An increase in [...] Read more.
The effect of upconverting luminescent nanoparticles coated on glass on the productivity of Solanum lycopersicum was studied. The cultivation of tomatoes under photoconversion glass led to an increase in plant productivity and an acceleration of plant adaptation to ultraviolet radiation. An increase in the total leaf area and chlorophyll content in the leaves was revealed in plants growing under the photoconversion glass. Plants growing under the photoconversion glass were able to more effectively utilize the absorbed light energy. The results of this study suggest that the spectral changes induced by photoconversion glass can accelerate the adaptation of plants to the appearance of ultraviolet radiation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials to Monitor and Improve Environmental Quality)
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Review

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Review
Efficacy Studies of Silica Nanoparticles Synthesized Using Agricultural Waste for Mitigating Waterborne Contaminants
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(18), 9279; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12189279 - 16 Sep 2022
Viewed by 228
Abstract
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the quantity of agricultural waste generation, due to the increased production of the food supply chain and the production of fuel for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction initiatives, viz. processing, and consumption. As [...] Read more.
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the quantity of agricultural waste generation, due to the increased production of the food supply chain and the production of fuel for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction initiatives, viz. processing, and consumption. As a result, there have been a number of environmental concerns, such as waste disposal, governance, and environmental impact. Hence, repurposing such wastes into high-value goods such as silica nanoparticles (SNPs) has received a lot of scientific attention. Because of their controllable pore size, large surface areas, and tunable and tailorable structure, SNPs have attracted interest from scientists for a variety of applications. As the water resources are becoming scarce and heavily stressed, our ongoing efforts have been towards the green synthesis of nanoparticles, with an emphasis on mitigating waterborne contaminants. Recent advances in the synthesis of SNPs from barley and rice husk agricultural waste, as well as its use in the removal of several recent environmental pollutants from water, have attracted the attention of several researchers, including our group. By fine-tuning the processing parameters during synthesis, the characteristics of SNPs are altered in terms of their configuration, appearance, porosity, and dimensions. Such features and corresponding applications of the SNPs are being investigated in order to investigate whether agricultural waste may be utilized for silica precursors. Although the utilization of low-cost waste-derived minerals appears to have the potential for both waste reduction and the creation of value-added goods, further studies are needed to increase silica production, particularly on a commercial scale. In addition, we conducted a review of the efficacy of SNPs toward water contamination mitigation and our results of such investigation are reported here. It is observed that silica nanoparticles can be synthesized on a commercial scale using green chemistry principles and are highly efficient materials with promising outcomes for environmental applications. Hence, using green synthesis, we are able to reduce agricultural waste, while mitigating environmental contaminants using environmentally friendly processing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials to Monitor and Improve Environmental Quality)
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Review
An Overview of Nanofiltration and Nanoadsorption Technologies to Emerging Pollutants Treatment
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(16), 8352; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12168352 - 21 Aug 2022
Viewed by 333
Abstract
The presence of emerging contaminants in water resources has been a global concern due to their environmental impact and effects on human and animal health. These compounds include pharmaceuticals and personal care products, pesticides, fire retardants, hormones, and plasticizers, among others. These contaminants [...] Read more.
The presence of emerging contaminants in water resources has been a global concern due to their environmental impact and effects on human and animal health. These compounds include pharmaceuticals and personal care products, pesticides, fire retardants, hormones, and plasticizers, among others. These contaminants are not completely removed during water and wastewater conventional treatment. Thus, alternative processes are necessary to face this issue. In this context, nanotechnology represents a promising strategy for the remediation of emerging contaminants. Nanostructured materials have highlighted properties, such as adsorption capacity and porosity, chemical stability, reactivity, mobility, and antimicrobial activity. The diversity of nanomaterials and the possibility of combining them contribute to their application in contaminant mitigation. Furthermore, they can be used in different removal techniques such as adsorption, and membrane filtration. Thus, this review article provides an overview and advances in the production and application of nanofiltration membranes and adsorbent nanomaterials for the treatment of effluents containing emerging pollutants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials to Monitor and Improve Environmental Quality)
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Review
Diversity of Synthetic Dyes from Textile Industries, Discharge Impacts and Treatment Methods
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(14), 6255; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11146255 - 06 Jul 2021
Cited by 54 | Viewed by 3262
Abstract
Natural dyes have been used from ancient times for multiple purposes, most importantly in the field of textile dying. The increasing demand and excessive costs of natural dye extraction engendered the discovery of synthetic dyes from petrochemical compounds. Nowadays, they are dominating the [...] Read more.
Natural dyes have been used from ancient times for multiple purposes, most importantly in the field of textile dying. The increasing demand and excessive costs of natural dye extraction engendered the discovery of synthetic dyes from petrochemical compounds. Nowadays, they are dominating the textile market, with nearly 8 × 105 tons produced per year due to their wide range of color pigments and consistent coloration. Textile industries consume huge amounts of water in the dyeing processes, making it hard to treat the enormous quantities of this hazardous wastewater. Thus, they have harmful impacts when discharged in non-treated or partially treated forms in the environment (air, soil, plants and water), causing several human diseases. In the present work we focused on synthetic dyes. We started by studying their classification which depended on the nature of the manufactured fiber (cellulose, protein and synthetic fiber dyes). Then, we mentioned the characteristics of synthetic dyes, however, we focused more on their negative impacts on the ecosystem (soil, plants, water and air) and on humans. Lastly, we discussed the applied physical, chemical and biological strategies solely or in combination for textile dye wastewater treatments. Additionally, we described the newly established nanotechnology which achieves complete discharge decontamination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials to Monitor and Improve Environmental Quality)
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