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Nanotechnology in Bioremediation

Thabo Mamba*

Institute for Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability, College of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of South Africa, Florida Science Campus, P/Bag X6, Roodepoort, 1709, South Africa

*Corresponding Author:
Thabo Mamba
Institute for Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability, College of Science, Engineering and Technology,
University of South Africa,
Florida Science Campus,
P/Bag X6, Roodepoort, 1709, South Africa

Received date: 25/11/2021; Accepted date: 10/12/2021; Published date: 17/12/2021

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Environmental sustainability is the careful use of natural resources and the responsible and legitimate treatment of people and the environment, which can make the environment safe for current and future generations.

A growing problem in society is the lack of innovative and effective solutions to mitigate pollution challenges. The uncontrolled release of pollutants into the environment as a result of urbanization and industrialization is a horrifying issue of global concern. While the ecotoxicity of nanotechnology is still controversial, nanoremediation is a promising new technology for combating pollution, especially when dealing with difficult pollutants. Nanoremedations are innovative for safe and sustainable remedies of persistent organic compounds such as pesticides, chlorinating solvents, brominated or halogenated chemicals, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and heavy metals which represent a noval approach.

Environmental remediation is primarily based on the use of different techniques (adsorption, absorption, chemical reactions, photocatalysts, filtration, etc.) to remove pollutants from different environmental media (soil, water, air, etc.). The improved properties and effectiveness of nanotechnology materials make them particularly suitable for such processes, as they often have high surface area-to-volume ratios and high reactivity.

Three major categories of nanomaterials used for environmental restoration are inorganic, carbon-based, and polymer-based materials.

Inorganic nanomaterials

While various metal-based nanomaterials describe the repair of numerous pollutants, most of the research deals with the removal of heavy metals and chlorinated organic pollutants from water. Metal and metal oxide nanomaterials are highly efficient adsorbents with advantages such as fast reaction rate and high adsorption capacity. Nanoparticles are often used for environmental restoration because they are extremely flexible for both in-situ and ex-situ applications in water systems.

Examples of Inorganic Nanomaterials: Metal and Metal Oxide-Based Nanomaterials, Silica Nanomaterials.

Carbon-based nanomaterials

The structural composition of elemental carbon and its variable mixed state contribute to the inherent physical, chemical, and electronic properties of carbon-containing materials compared to metal-based nanomaterials. Many studies on the suitability of carbon nanotubes and graphene for environmental restoration applications have reported that surface treatment, activation, or functionalization of the original carbon material is the first requirement.

Examples of Carbon-Based Nanomaterials: Graphene Materials, Carbon Nanotubes.

Polymer-based nanomaterials

The large surface area-to-volume ratio of nanomaterials contributes to higher reactivity while improving performance, but the occurrence of aggregation, non-specificity, and inadequate stability of these due to lack of functionality may limit the use of nanotechnology. Instead of increasing the stability of nanoscale materials, host materials can also be used. Its purpose is to act as a matrix or carrier for other types of materials.

Inorganic, carbonic, and polymer nanomaterials are one of many different types of materials that can be successfully used in a variety of environmental restoration applications. To select the best nanomaterials to mitigate certain pollutants in a particular environmental situation, the type of pollutants to remove, accessibility to repair sites, the amount of materials needed for efficient repairs, and a full analysis of whether there are any benefits to recover remediation nanomaterials (recycling) is needed.