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Special Issue "Global Mercury Assessment Sensing Strategies"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Chemical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 October 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Antonella Macagnano
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, Via Salaria km 29,300, 00015, Monterotondo Rome, Italy
Interests: electrospinning technology, nanocomposite materials for sensors, environment, air pollutants, gas, chemical vapors, VOCs, SVOCs, atmospheric mercury active and passive sensing strategies
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Nicola N. Pirrone
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, 87036 Rende, Italy
Interests: emission, transport and deposition of atmospheric pollutants; atmospheric mercury contamination; environmental policy
Prof. Milena Horvat
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Sciences, Jožef Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: analytical chemistry, metrology, biogeochemistry, human biomonitoring

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mercury is a persistent pollutant of global concern due to its toxicity and its capacity to cycle within and between different environmental compartments which represents a risk for human health and ecosystems. Mercury compounds are released to the atmosphere from geogenic and natural-driven processes and anthropogenic sources. Depending on its chemical form, be elemental or oxidised, mercury released to the atmosphere can be subject to long-range transport and transferred to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems by wet scavenging and dry deposition mechanisms. In order to assess the impact on human health and ecosystems with changing emission regimes and climate there is a need to have a representative spatial coverage of monitoring data in both hemispheres, validated regional and global scale models to forecast future changes, and a spatial data infrastructures and tools for downstream data analytics. There is a vast and growing scientific literature on the distribution of mercury in and between environmental compartments. The atmosphere is the primary long-range transport media of Hg emissions, whereas soil and water may play a significant role in the redistribution of Hg in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems including living organisms. Several international programmes are aimed to quantify source-receptor relationships, long-range transport and deposition patterns and identify “hot-spots”. With reference to monitoring, there is a need to advance our technological capability in order to expand the spatial coverage already existing regional and global monitoring networks and reduce the associated management costs, and provide comparable global monitoring data for policy evaluations and research purposes.

In order to support the implementation of the Minamata Convention there is a strong need to develop cost-effective devices and technological systems able to support the ongoing efforts of governments and international organizations and programmes aiming to improve the global coverage of monitoring data by filling large geographical gaps (i.e., Africa, Latin America, Russia, Asia). The overarching goal is to make available comparable global measurements data in order to assess the effectiveness of measures aiming to reducing anthropogenic emissions of mercury and its associated risk for human health and ecosystems.  Considering the low concentrations of mercury in different environmental matrixes, sampling and analytical methods have to be sensitive enough to cope with the requirements of traceability, accuracy, reproducibility and robustness. In recent years significant progress have been made in developing new passive samplers for air, water and soil matrixes, biosensors, as well as active mercury sensors. Thanks to advances in micro- and nano-structured designed materials new devices have been developed, both passive and active sensing devices, opening a new frontier in technological development in mercury monitoring.

This Special Issue of Sensors aims to publish state-of-the-art scientific results related to advances in monitoring and analytical methods and technologies designed to quantify and characterize mercury contaminations at hot spots, urban and industrial sites as well as at background locations. It is going also to comprise the main results achieved in the two European projects named MercOx (http://www.mercox.si/) and iGOSP (ERA-PLANET) (http://www.igosp.eu/).

Interested scientists are kindly invited to submit papers for one or more of the following topics:

(i) Optical colorimetric, electrochemical, chemical and bio-sensors;

(ii) Stand-alone sensor systems or part of an array of sensors;

(iii) Passive sampling devices for air, water and soil matrixes;  

(iv) Multi-functional active air sampling sensors;

(v) New nano-structured materials, eventually functionalized to monitor a targeted mercury species in air, water and soil matrixes;

(vi) Innovative analytical techniques to characterize mercury compounds in abiotic and biotic samples;

(vii) Tools for big field sensor data analytics.

Dr. Antonella Macagnano
Prof. Nicola Pirrone
Prof. Milena Horvat
Guest Editors

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. Sensors 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 1800 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

  • The design of atmospheric mercury-based sensors
  • The design of mercury sensors and smart/low cost strategies for air, soil, and water systems
  • Wearable sensing devices
  • Sensor network design and application
  • Nanotechnologies
  • Nanostructured sensing materials
  • Optical, colorimetric, electrochemical, and bio-sensors
  • Passive and active sensing applications
  • Remote sensing
  • Metrology
  • Health monitoring.

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
A Unique Interactive Nanostructure Knitting based Passive Sampler Adsorbent for Monitoring of Hg2+ in Water
Sensors 2019, 19(15), 3432; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19153432 - 05 Aug 2019
Abstract
This work reports the development of ultralight interwoven ultrathin graphitic carbon nitride (g-CN) nanosheets for use as a potential adsorbent in a passive sampler (PAS) designed to bind Hg2+ ions. The g-CN nanosheets were prepared from bulk g-CN synthesised via a modified [...] Read more.
This work reports the development of ultralight interwoven ultrathin graphitic carbon nitride (g-CN) nanosheets for use as a potential adsorbent in a passive sampler (PAS) designed to bind Hg2+ ions. The g-CN nanosheets were prepared from bulk g-CN synthesised via a modified high-temperature short-time (HTST) polycondensation process. The crystal structure, surface functional groups, and morphology of the g-CN nanosheets were characterised using a battery of instruments. The results confirmed that the as-synthesized product is composed of few-layered nanosheets. The adsorption efficiency of g-CN for binding Hg2+ (100 ng mL−1) in sea, river, rain, and Milli-Q quality water was 89%, 93%, 97%, and 100%, respectively, at natural pH. Interference studies found that the cations tested (Co2+, Ca2+, Zn2+, Fe2+, Mn2+, Ni2+, Bi3+, Na+, and K+) had no significant effect on the adsorption efficiency of Hg2+. Different parameters were optimised to improve the performance of g-CN such as pH, contact time, and amount of adsorbent. Optimum conditions were pH 7, 120 min incubation time and 10 mg of nanosheets. The yield of nanosheets was 72.5%, which is higher compared to other polycondensation processes using different monomers. The g-CN sheets could also be regenerated up to eight times with only a 20% loss in binding efficiency. Overall, nano-knitted g-CN is a promising low-cost green adsorbent for use in passive samplers or as a transducing material in sensor applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Mercury Assessment Sensing Strategies)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Functionalized Electrospun Nanofibers as Colorimetric Sensory Probe for Mercury Detection: A Review
Sensors 2019, 19(21), 4763; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19214763 - 02 Nov 2019
Abstract
Mercury is considered the most hazardous pollutant of aquatic resources; it exerts numerous adverse effects on environmental and human health. To date, significant progress has been made in employing a variety of nanomaterials for the colorimetric detection of mercury ions. Electrospun nanofibers exhibit [...] Read more.
Mercury is considered the most hazardous pollutant of aquatic resources; it exerts numerous adverse effects on environmental and human health. To date, significant progress has been made in employing a variety of nanomaterials for the colorimetric detection of mercury ions. Electrospun nanofibers exhibit several beneficial features, including a large surface area, porous nature, and easy functionalization; thus, providing several opportunities to encapsulate a variety of functional materials for sensing applications with enhanced sensitivity and selectivity, and a fast response. In this review, several examples of electrospun nanofiber-based sensing platforms devised by utilizing the two foremost approaches, namely, direct incorporation and surface decoration envisioned for detection of mercury ions are provided. We believe these examples provide sufficient evidence for the potential use and progress of electrospun nanofibers toward colorimetric sensing of mercury ions. Furthermore, the summary of the review is focused on providing an insight into the future directions of designing electrospun nanofiber-based, metal ion colorimetric sensors for practical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Mercury Assessment Sensing Strategies)
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