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Special Issue "Environmental Nanotechnology"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Nanochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Frank Alexis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Bioengineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA
2. School of Biological Sciences and Engineering, Yachay Tech University, 100119 Urcuquí, Ecuador
Interests: remediation; safety; target; sensing
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental pollution is undoubtedly one of the main challenge that society faces today. The enhanced properties and effectiveness of nanomaterials makes them particularly noteworthy with regards to their high potential of helping to detect and remediate pollution from water, air, and land. However, there are remaining challenges, including target-specific capture, cost effectiveness, scale up, facile synthesis, green chemistry, non-toxicity, biodegradability, recyclability, and recovery. In this Special Issue, we invite investigators to contribute original research articles, as well as review articles, that are related to nanomaterials to detect or remediate pollutants. We are particularly interested in topics addressing current challenges in the context of volatile organic compounds, pharmaceutical and personal care, malodorous molecules, heavy metals, haze, smoke, bacteria, and pesticides.

Prof. Frank Alexis
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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. Molecules 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 2000 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

  • Specific binding
  • Biodegradability
  • Recyclability
  • Scale up
  • Toxicity
  • Microfluidic
  • Nanostructures
  • Bioinspired

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Nanostructured and Photochromic Material for Environmental Detection of Metal Ions
Molecules 2019, 24(23), 4243; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24234243 - 21 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1378
Abstract
Compared to conventional spectroscopy or chromatography analysis, chemical sensing based on colorimetric changes offers an alternative to monitor potential metal hazards in aqueous environment through rapid and low-cost colorimetric changes which can be easily interpreted. In this work poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG 2000) was [...] Read more.
Compared to conventional spectroscopy or chromatography analysis, chemical sensing based on colorimetric changes offers an alternative to monitor potential metal hazards in aqueous environment through rapid and low-cost colorimetric changes which can be easily interpreted. In this work poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG 2000) was modified with a carboxylic acid spiropyran (SPCOOH) derivate by Steglich esterification (PEGSP2). PEGSP2 was incorporated into a poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) polymer matrix by electrospinning technique to produce nanofibers with photochromic properties. Spectroscopic analysis, thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) were used to characterize PEGSP2. Drop shape analysis (DSA) and scanning electronic microscopy (SEM) were used to characterize the electrospun (ES) nanofibers morphology. Several metal ions solutions relevant to environmental hazards were prepared to be spotted on the surface of ES nanofibers for photochromatic sensing. Among them, Mg2+, Ca2+, Zn2+, Cd2+, La3+, and Er3+ demonstrated orange fluorescence when exposed to UV light. ES nanofibers also presented higher wettability when compared to a pure PCL polymer matrix, which is critical for sensitivity. Eighteen metals ions could be detected on the electrospun material. Additionally, among all metal ions Fe3+ was the most sensitive one in solution, in a µmol L−1 range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Nanotechnology)
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Article
Measuring Artificial Sweeteners Toxicity Using a Bioluminescent Bacterial Panel
Molecules 2018, 23(10), 2454; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23102454 - 25 Sep 2018
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 63408
Abstract
Artificial sweeteners have become increasingly controversial due to their questionable influence on consumers’ health. They are introduced in most foods and many consume this added ingredient without their knowledge. Currently, there is still no consensus regarding the health consequences of artificial sweeteners intake [...] Read more.
Artificial sweeteners have become increasingly controversial due to their questionable influence on consumers’ health. They are introduced in most foods and many consume this added ingredient without their knowledge. Currently, there is still no consensus regarding the health consequences of artificial sweeteners intake as they have not been fully investigated. Consumption of artificial sweeteners has been linked with adverse effects such as cancer, weight gain, metabolic disorders, type-2 diabetes and alteration of gut microbiota activity. Moreover, artificial sweeteners have been identified as emerging environmental pollutants, and can be found in receiving waters, i.e., surface waters, groundwater aquifers and drinking waters. In this study, the relative toxicity of six FDA-approved artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, neotame, advantame and acesulfame potassium-k (ace-k)) and that of ten sport supplements containing these artificial sweeteners, were tested using genetically modified bioluminescent bacteria from E. coli. The bioluminescent bacteria, which luminesce when they detect toxicants, act as a sensing model representative of the complex microbial system. Both induced luminescent signals and bacterial growth were measured. Toxic effects were found when the bacteria were exposed to certain concentrations of the artificial sweeteners. In the bioluminescence activity assay, two toxicity response patterns were observed, namely, the induction and inhibition of the bioluminescent signal. An inhibition response pattern may be observed in the response of sucralose in all the tested strains: TV1061 (MLIC = 1 mg/mL), DPD2544 (MLIC = 50 mg/mL) and DPD2794 (MLIC = 100 mg/mL). It is also observed in neotame in the DPD2544 (MLIC = 2 mg/mL) strain. On the other hand, the induction response pattern may be observed in its response in saccharin in TV1061 (MLIndC = 5 mg/mL) and DPD2794 (MLIndC = 5 mg/mL) strains, aspartame in DPD2794 (MLIndC = 4 mg/mL) strain, and ace-k in DPD2794 (MLIndC = 10 mg/mL) strain. The results of this study may help in understanding the relative toxicity of artificial sweeteners on E. coli, a sensing model representative of the gut bacteria. Furthermore, the tested bioluminescent bacterial panel can potentially be used for detecting artificial sweeteners in the environment, using a specific mode-of-action pattern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Nanotechnology)
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Article
Tunable Polarity Carbon Fibers, a Holistic Approach to Environmental Protection
Molecules 2018, 23(5), 1026; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23051026 - 27 Apr 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2299
Abstract
The pollution of environmental resources is an issue of social concern worldwide. Chemistry is essential for the design of decontamination strategies and analytical approaches to detect and monitor the contamination. Sorptive materials are usually required in both approaches and green synthesis should be [...] Read more.
The pollution of environmental resources is an issue of social concern worldwide. Chemistry is essential for the design of decontamination strategies and analytical approaches to detect and monitor the contamination. Sorptive materials are usually required in both approaches and green synthesis should be used to minimize their own environmental impact. Carbon fibers (CFs) obtained by the pyrolysis of natural cellulose-rich materials fulfill these requirements. In this article, thirty CFs obtained under different conditions are chemically characterized and their sorption ability towards selected pollutants, covering a wide range of polarity, is evaluated. This study provides more profound knowledge related to the polarity of these materials, their interactions with chemical substances and allows the prediction of more appropriate materials (pyrolysis temperature and time) in order to remove the given pollutant. Furthermore, the use of CFs as sorptive materials for the extraction of contaminants from water samples to assist with their instrumental detection is outlined. In this sense, the use of CFs and gas chromatography with mass spectrometric detection allows the detection of selected pollutants in the low ng/mL range. Thus, this article provides an integrated approach to the potential of CFs for environmental protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Nanotechnology)
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Review

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Review
Engineered Zero-Dimensional Fullerene/Carbon Dots-Polymer Based Nanocomposite Membranes for Wastewater Treatment
Molecules 2020, 25(21), 4934; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25214934 - 26 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 905
Abstract
With the rapid growth of industrialization, diverse pollutants produced as by-products are emitted to the air-water ecosystem, and toxic contamination of water is one of the most hazardous environmental issues. Various forms of carbon have been used for adsorption, electrochemical, and ion-exchange membrane [...] Read more.
With the rapid growth of industrialization, diverse pollutants produced as by-products are emitted to the air-water ecosystem, and toxic contamination of water is one of the most hazardous environmental issues. Various forms of carbon have been used for adsorption, electrochemical, and ion-exchange membrane filtration to separation processes for water treatment. The utilization of carbon materials has gained tremendous attention as they have exceptional properties such as chemical, mechanical, thermal, antibacterial activities, along with reinforcement capability and high thermal stability, that helps to maintain the ecological balance. Recently, engineered nano-carbon incorporated with polymer as a composite membrane has been spotlighted as a new and effective mode for water treatment. In particular, the properties of zero-dimensional (0D) carbon forms (fullerenes and carbon dots) have encouraged researchers to explore them in the field of wastewater treatment through membrane technologies as they are biocompatible, which is the ultimate requirement to ensure the safety of drinking water. Thus, the purpose of this review is to highlight and summarize current advances in the field of water purification/treatment using 0D carbon-polymer-based nanocomposite membranes. Particular emphasis is placed on the development of 0D carbon forms embedded into a variety of polymer membranes and their influence on the improved performance of the resulting membranes. Current challenges and opportunities for future research are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Nanotechnology)
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Review
Potential Risk to Pollinators from Nanotechnology-Based Pesticides
Molecules 2019, 24(24), 4458; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24244458 - 05 Dec 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2939
Abstract
The decline in populations of insect pollinators is a global concern. While multiple factors are implicated, there is uncertainty surrounding the contribution of certain groups of pesticides to losses in wild and managed bees. Nanotechnology-based pesticides (NBPs) are formulations based on multiple particle [...] Read more.
The decline in populations of insect pollinators is a global concern. While multiple factors are implicated, there is uncertainty surrounding the contribution of certain groups of pesticides to losses in wild and managed bees. Nanotechnology-based pesticides (NBPs) are formulations based on multiple particle sizes and types. By packaging active ingredients in engineered particles, NBPs offer many benefits and novel functions, but may also exhibit different properties in the environment when compared with older pesticide formulations. These new properties raise questions about the environmental disposition and fate of NBPs and their exposure to pollinators. Pollinators such as honey bees have evolved structural adaptations to collect pollen, but also inadvertently gather other types of environmental particles which may accumulate in hive materials. Knowledge of the interaction between pollinators, NBPs, and other types of particles is needed to better understand their exposure to pesticides, and essential for characterizing risk from diverse environmental contaminants. The present review discusses the properties, benefits and types of nanotechnology-based pesticides, the propensity of bees to collect such particles and potential impacts on bee pollinators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Nanotechnology)
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Review
Nanotechnology for Environmental Remediation: Materials and Applications
Molecules 2018, 23(7), 1760; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071760 - 18 Jul 2018
Cited by 96 | Viewed by 5643
Abstract
Environmental remediation relies mainly on using various technologies (e.g., adsorption, absorption, chemical reactions, photocatalysis, and filtration) for the removal of contaminants from different environmental media (e.g., soil, water, and air). The enhanced properties and effectiveness of nanotechnology-based materials makes them particularly suitable for [...] Read more.
Environmental remediation relies mainly on using various technologies (e.g., adsorption, absorption, chemical reactions, photocatalysis, and filtration) for the removal of contaminants from different environmental media (e.g., soil, water, and air). The enhanced properties and effectiveness of nanotechnology-based materials makes them particularly suitable for such processes given that they have a high surface area-to-volume ratio, which often results in higher reactivity. This review provides an overview of three main categories of nanomaterials (inorganic, carbon-based, and polymeric-based materials) used for environmental remediation. The use of these nanomaterials for the remediation of different environmental contaminants—such as heavy metals, dyes, chlorinated organic compounds, organophosphorus compounds, volatile organic compounds, and halogenated herbicides—is reviewed. Various recent examples are extensively highlighted focusing on the materials and their applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Nanotechnology)
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