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Special Issue "Water-Food-Energy Nexus for Sustainable Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Chemical Engineering and Technology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021) | Viewed by 3286

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Priyanka Sharma
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Chemistry Department, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11790-3400, USA
Interests: biomaterials; cellulose chemistry; water purification; nanocellulose and its application; structural characterization of nanocellulose
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Sunil Kumar Sharma
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center in Integrated Electric Energy Systems (CIEES), Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11790-3400, USA
Interests: water purification; sustainability; nanomaterials; characterization
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The water–food–energy nexus is essential for sustainable development. An increasing global population; industrialization; and fluctuations in economic growth have upset the security of all three of these vital domains of life. The agricultural sector is the epicenter of food production for over 60 percent of world’s population, who rely on it for their subsistence. Furthermore, successful agriculture consumes the largest amount of fresh water and around a quarter of global energy. Hence, it is important to find a suitable balance or an integrated approach regarding these three critical domains to guarantee enough food and energy production without leading to water shortage worldwide. 

The focus of this Special Issue is to publish original, in-depth research papers and short reviews addressing the recent progress in the area of the water–food–energy nexus for sustainable development using the biomaterials. The Special Issue will cover topics where fundamental research is being conducted on biomaterials, especially related to natural polymers and their nanoforms (e.g., cellulose, nanocellulose, chitin, guar gum, protein, and amino acid), applied to food-, water-, and energy-related areas. Specifically, it will include advanced applications such as water purification, composite materials, energy storage, membranes, bioscaffolds, sensing materials, and food production.

Original research papers related to the above topics, comprising innovative methods, advanced structural characterization, practical solutions, and the current state of emerging technologies in the field, are highly encouraged.

Dr. Priyanka Sharma
Dr. Sunil Kumar Sharma
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at 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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Sustainability 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.


  • biomaterials
  • water
  • energy
  • food
  • sustainable development
  • biopolymers

Published Papers (1 paper)

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A Review of the Water–Energy–Food Nexus Research in Africa
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1762; - 06 Feb 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2689
Notwithstanding the dispersed nature of the water, energy and food (WEF) nexus scholarship in the African continent, its strategic importance to the African agenda has gained widespread attention in research and planning circles. In this regard, the bibliometric science mapping and content analysis [...] Read more.
Notwithstanding the dispersed nature of the water, energy and food (WEF) nexus scholarship in the African continent, its strategic importance to the African agenda has gained widespread attention in research and planning circles. In this regard, the bibliometric science mapping and content analysis of the WEF nexus scientific publication trends, the conceptual, intellectual and social structures, as well as the inherent paradigmatic shifts in the WEF nexus body of knowledge in the African continent have been undertaken, using the nexus body of literature accessed from the Web of Science and Scopus core collection databases. The review results confirmed that, whilst the WEF nexus scholarship has expanded since 2013, there is also evidence of growth in the conceptual, intellectual and social structures of the WEF nexus in the African continent. These shifts have resulted in the emergence of hot topics (subfields) including modelling and optimization, climate variability and change, environmental ecosystem services sustainability, and sustainable development and livelihoods. The review further determined that these structures have evolved along two main perspectives of WEF nexus research development, i.e., the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary domains. In support of the interpretation of the visual analytics of the intellectual structure and changing patterns of the WEF nexus research, the shifts in positivist, interpretivist and pragmatic paradigmatic perspectives (these are underpinned by the ontology, epistemology, and methodology and methods) are considered when explaining WEF nexus research shifts: (a) From the unconnected silo paradigms that focus on water, energy and food (security concerns) to interconnected (and sometimes interdependent or nested) linkages or systems incorporating environmental, social-economic and political drivers (also viewed as subfields) in a bid to holistically support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the African continent; and (b) in the evaluation of the WEF nexus scholarship based on novel analytical approaches. We contend that whilst the theories of science change underpin this apparent expansion, the macro-economic theory will find use in explaining how the WEF nexus research agenda is negotiated and the Integrative Environmental Governance (IEG) is the duly suited governance theory to bridge the inherent disconnect between WEF nexus output and governance processes uncovered in the literature. Overall, operational challenges and opportunities of the WEF nexus abound, transitioning the WEF nexus research to practice in Africa, motivating the need to take advantage of the scholar–practitioner research underpinnings, as contemplated in the transdisciplinary research approach, which is characterised by the dual quest for new knowledge and considerations of use. Yet, there is need for more coordinated and collaborative research to achieve impact and transition from WEF nexus thinking to WEF nexus practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water-Food-Energy Nexus for Sustainable Development)
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