Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

ISSN 2095-2201

ISSN 2095-221X(Online)

CN 10-1013/X

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Environmental applications and implications of nanotechnologies
Dongye ZHAO,Shubo DENG
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 745-745.

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Nanosized magnetite in low cost materials for remediation of water polluted with toxic metals, azo- and antraquinonic dyes
María Fernanda HORST,Verónica LASSALLE,María Luján FERREIRA
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 746-769.

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Nanosized magnetite has emerged as an adsorbent of pollutants in water remediation. Nanoadsorbents include magnetic iron oxide and its modifiers/stabilizers, such as carbon, silica, clay, organic moieties (polymers, aminoacids, and fatty acids) and other inorganic oxides. This review is focused on the recent developments on the synthesis and use of magnetic nanoparticles and nanocomposites in the treatment of contaminated water. The emphasis is on the influence of the iron oxide modifiers on some properties of interest such as size, BET area, and magnetization. The characteristics of these nanomaterials are related to their ability to eliminate heavy metal ions and dyes from wastewater. Comparative analysis of the actual literature was performed aiming to present the magnetic material, its preparation methodology and performance in the elimination of the selected pollutants. Vast information has been properly summarized according to the materials, their properties and preferential affinity for selected contaminants. The mechanisms governing nanomaterial’s formation as well as the interactions with heavy metals and dyes have been carefully analyzed and associated to their efficiency.

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Applications of hollow nanomaterials in environmental remediation and monitoring: A review
Yuankai ZHANG,Zhijiang HE,Hongchen WANG,Lu QI,Guohua LIU,Xiaojun ZHANG
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 770-783.

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Hollow nanomaterials have attracted significant attention because of their high chemical and thermal stability, high specific surface area, high porosity, low density, and good biocompatibility. These state-of-the-art nanomaterials have been shown to efficiently adsorb heavy metals, and volatile hazardous substances, photodegrade persistent organic pollutants, and other compounds, and inactivate bacteria. Such properties have enabled the use of these materials for environmental remediation, such as in water/wastewater treatment, soil remediation, air purification, and substance monitoring, etc. Hollow nanomaterials showed higher photocatalytic activity than those without hollow structure owing to their high active surface area, reduced diffusion resistance, and improved accessibility. And, the Doping method could improve the photocatalytic performance of hollow nanomaterials further under visible light. Moreover, the synthetic mechanisms and methods of these materials are important because their size and morphology help to determine their precise properties. This article reviews the environmental applications and potential risks of these materials, in addition to their syntheses. Finally, an outlook into the development of these materials is provided.

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Effect of co-existing organic compounds on adsorption of perfluorinated compounds onto carbon nanotubes
Shubo DENG,Yue BEI,Xinyu LU,Ziwen DU,Bin WANG,Yujue WANG,Jun HUANG,Gang YU
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 784-792.

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Co-existing organic compounds may affect the adsorption of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and carbon nanotubes in aquatic environments. Adsorption of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctane acid (PFOA), perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS), and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS) on the pristine multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs-Pri), carboxyl functionalized MWCNTs (MWCTNs-COOH), and hydroxyl functionalized MWCNTs (MWCNTs-OH) in the presence of humic acid, 1-naphthol, phenol, and benzoic acid was studied. Adsorption kinetics of PFOS was described well by the pseudo-second-order model and the sorption equilibrium was almost reached within 24 h. The effect of co-existing organic compounds on PFOS adsorption followed the decreasing order of humic acid>1-naphthol>benzoic acid>phenol. Adsorbed amounts of PFOS decreased significantly in the presence of co-existing or preloaded humic acid, and both adsorption energy and effective adsorption sites on the three MWCNTs decreased, resulting in the decrease of PFOS adsorption. With increasing pH, PFOS removal by three MWCNTs decreased in the presence of humic acid and phenol. The adsorbed amounts of different PFCs on the MWCNTs increased in the order of PFBS<PFHxS<PFOA<PFOS. The increase of both initial concentrations and the number of aromatic rings of co-existing organic compounds suppressed PFOS adsorption on the MWCNTs.

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A multi-integrated approach on toxicity effects of engineered TiO2 nanoparticles
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 793-803.

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The new properties of engineered nanoparticles drive the need for new knowledge on the safety, fate, behavior and biologic effects of these particles on organisms and ecosystems. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles have been used extensively for a wide range of applications, e.g, self-cleaning surface coatings, solar cells, water treatment agents, topical sunscreens. Within this scenario increased environmental exposure can be expected but data on the ecotoxicological evaluation of nanoparticles are still scarce. The main purpose of this work was the evaluation of effects of TiO2 nanoparticles in several organisms, covering different trophic levels, using a battery of aquatic assays. Using fish as a vertebrate model organism tissue histological and ultrastructural observations and the stress enzyme activity were also studied. TiO2 nanoparticles (Aeroxide® P25), two phase composition of anatase (65%) and rutile (35%) with an average particle size value of 27.6±11 nm were used. Results on the EC50 for the tested aquatic organisms showed toxicity for the bacteria, the algae and the crustacean, being the algae the most sensitive tested organism. The aquatic plant Lemna minor showed no effect on growth. The fish Carassius auratus showed no effect on a 21 day survival test, though at a biochemical level the cytosolic Glutathione-S-Transferase total activity, in intestines, showed a general significant decrease (p<0.05) after 14 days of exposure for all tested concentrations. The presence of TiO2 nanoparticles aggregates were observed in the intestine lumen but their internalization by intestine cells could not be confirmed.

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Effects of molecular weight and concentration of carboxymethyl cellulose on morphology of hydroxyapatite nanoparticles as prepared with one-step wet chemical method
Ruiqiang LIU,Rattan LAL
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 804-812.

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Nano-sized apatite particles (nAP) synthesized with carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) have shown great application potentials in in situ heavy metal remediation. However, differences in CMC’s properties effects on the size of nAP produced are not well understood. In this paper, two types of CMC, with respective molecular weights (MW) of ~120000 and ~240000 Dalton or respective polymerization degrees of 500 (CMC-500) and 1050 (CMC-1050), were studied in a concentration range of 0.05%–0.5% (w/w) for nAP synthesis. Morphology of the particles was characterized with transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Results showed that 0.05% CMC-500 solution gave an average particle size of 148.7±134.9 nm, 0.25% CMC-500 solution produced particles of 21.8±20.4 nm, and, 0.5% CMC-500 solution contained particles of 15.8±7.7 nm. In comparison, 0.05% CMC-1050 solution produced nanoparticles of 6.8±3.2 nm, 0.25% CMC-1050 produced smaller nAP of 4.3±3.2 nm, and 0.5% CMC-1050 synthesized the smallest nanoparticles in this study, with an average diameter of 3.0±2.1 nm. Chemical composition of the products was identified with X-ray diffraction (XRD) as pure hydroxyapatite. Interactions between nAP and CMC were discussed with help of attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopic data. This study showed that CMC at higher concentration as well as higher MW facilitated to produce finer nanoparticles, showing that nAP size could be manipulated by selecting appropriate CMC MW and/or applying appropriate CMC concentration.

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Optimizing synthesis conditions of nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) through aqueous reactivity assessment
Yanlai HAN,Michael D. Y. YANG,Weixian ZHANG,Weile YAN
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 813-822.

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Nanoscale iron particles (nZVI) is one of the most important engineered nanomaterials applied to environmental pollution control and abatement. Although a multitude of synthesis approaches have been proposed, a facile method to screen the reactivity of candidate nZVI materials produced using different methods or under varying synthesis conditions has yet been established. In this study, four reaction parameters were adjusted in the preparation of borohydride-reduced nZVI. The reductive properties of the resultant nanoparticles were assayed independently using two model aqueous contaminants, Cu(II) and nitrate. The results confirm that the reductive reactivity of nZVI is most sensitive to the initial concentration of iron precursor, borohydride feed rate, and the loading ratio of borohydride to ferric ion during particle synthesis. Solution mixing speed, in contrast, carries a relative small weight on the reactivity of nZVI. The two probing reactions (i.e., Cu(II) and nitrate reduction) are able to generate consistent and quantitative inference about the mass-normalized surface activity of nZVI. However, the nitrate assay is valid in dilute aqueous solutions only (50 mg·L−1 or lower) due to accelerated deactivation of iron surface at elevated nitrate concentrations. Additional insights including the structural and chemical makeup of nZVI can be garnered from Cu(II) reduction assessments. The reactivity assays investigated in this study can facilitate screening of candidate materials or optimization of nZVI production parameters, which complement some of the more sophisticated but less chemically specific material characterization methods used in the nZVI research.

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Interaction of carbonaceous nanomaterials with wastewater biomass
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 823-831.

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Increasing production and use of carbonaceous nanomaterials (NMs) will increase their release to the sewer system and to municipal wastewater treatment plants. There is little quantitative knowledge on the removal of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), graphene oxide (GO), or few-layer graphene (FLG) from wastewater into the wastewater biomass. As such, we investigated the quantification of GO and MWCNTs by UV-Vis spectrophotometry, and FLG using programmable thermal analysis (PTA), respectively. We further explored the removal of pristine and oxidized MWCNTs (O-MWCNTs), GO, and FLG in a biomass suspension. At least 96% of pristine and O-MWCNTs were removed from the water phase through aggregation and 30-min settling in presence or absence of biomass with an initial MWCNT concentration of 25 mg·L−1. Only 65% of GO was removed with biomass concentration at or above 1,000 mg·L−1 as total suspended solids (TSS) with the initial GO concentration of 25 mg·L−1. As UV-Vis spectrophotometry does not work well on quantification of FLG, we studied the removal of FLG at a lower biomass concentration (50 mg TSS·L−1) using PTA, which showed a 16% removal of FLG with an initial concentration of 1 mg·L−1. The removal data for GO and FLG were fitted using the Freundlich equation (R2 = 0.55, 0.94, respectively). The data presented in this study for carbonaceous NM removal from wastewater provides quantitative information for environmental exposure modeling and life cycle assessment.

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Removing polybrominated diphenyl ethers in pure water using Fe/Pd bimetallic nanoparticles
Min ZHANG,Jian LU,Zhencheng XU,Yiliang HE,Bo ZHANG,Song JIN,Brian BOMAN
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 832-839.

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Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been widely used as fire-retardants. Due to their high production volume, widespread usage, and environmental persistence, PBDEs have become ubiquitous contaminants in various environments.Nanoscale zero-valent iron (ZVI) is an effective reductant for many halogenated organic compounds. To enhance the degradation efficiency, ZVI/Palladium bimetallic nanoparticles (nZVI/Pd) were synthesized in this study to degrade decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE209) in water. Approximately 90% of BDE209 was rapidly removed by nZVI/Pd within 80 min, whereas about 25% of BDE209 was removed by nZVI. Degradation of BDE209 by nZVI/Pd fits pseudo-first-order kinetics. An increase in pH led to sharply decrease the rate of BDE209 degradation. The degradation rate constant in the treatment with initial pH at 9.0 was more than 6.8 × higher than that under pH 5.0. The degradation intermediates of BDE209 by nZVI/Pd were identified and the degradation pathways were hypothesized. Results from this study suggest that nZVI/Pd may be an effective tool for treating polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in water.

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Effect of Fe loading quantity on reduction reactivity of nano zero-valent iron supported on chelating resin
Jialu SHI,Shengnan YI,Chao LONG,Aimin LI
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 840-849.

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In this study, nanoscale zero-valent iron (NZVI) were immobilized within a chelating resin (DOW 3N). To investigate the effect of Fe loading on NZVI reactivity, three NZVI-resin composites with different Fe loading were obtained by preparing Fe(III) solution in 0, 30 and 70% (v/v) ethanol aqueous, respectively; the bromate was used as a model contaminant. TEM reveals that increasing the Fe loading resulted in much larger size and poor dispersion of nanoscale iron particles. The results indicated that the removal efficiency of bromate and the rate constant (Kobs) were decreased with increasing the Fe loading. For the NZVI-resin composite with lower Fe loading, the removal efficiency of bromate declined more significantly with the increase of DO concentrations. Under acidic conditions, decreasing the pH value had the most significant influence on NZVI-R3 with highest Fe loading for bromate removal; however, under alkaline conditions, the most significant influence of pH was on NZVI-R1 with lowest Fe loading. The effects of co-existing anions NO3, PO43 and HCO3 were also investigated. All of the co-existing anions showed the inhibition to bromate reduction.

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Effect of metal ion-doping on characteristics and photocatalytic activity of TiO2 nanotubes for removal of humic acid from water
Rongfang YUAN,Beihai ZHOU,Duo HUA,Chunhong SHI
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 850-860.

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The effect of ion-doping on TiO2 nanotubes were investigated to obtain the optimal TiO2 nanotubes for the effective decomposition of humic acids (HA) through O3/UV/ion-doped TiO2 process. The experimental results show that changing the calcination temperature, which changed the weight fractions of the anatase phase, the average crystallite sizes, the Brunauer-Emmett-Teller surface area, and the energy band gap of the catalyst, affected the photocatalytic activity of the catalyst. The ionic radius, valence state, and configuration of the dopant also affected the photocatalytic activity. The photocatalytic activities of the catalysts on HA removal increased when Ag+, Al3+, Cu2+, Fe3+, V5+, and Zn2+ were doped into the TiO2 nanotubes, whereas such activities decreased as a result of Mn2+- and Ni2+-doping. In the presence of 1.0 at.% Fe3+-doped TiO2 nanotubes calcined at 550°C, the removal efficiency of HA was 80% with a pseudo-first-order rate constant of 0.158 min−1. Fe3+ in TiO2 could increase the generation of ·OH, which could remove HA. However, Fe3+ in water cannot function as a shallow trapping site for electrons or holes.

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Tuning the catalytic selectivity in electrochemical CO2 reduction on copper oxide-derived nanomaterials
Jiafang XIE,Yuxi HUANG,Hanqing YU
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 861-866.

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Electrochemical conversion of CO2 to hydrocarbons can relieve both environmental and energy stresses. However, electrocatalysts for this reaction usually suffer from a poor product selectivity and a large overpotential. Here we report that tunable catalytic selectivity for hydrocarbon formation could be achieved on Cu nanomaterials with different morphologies. By tuning the electrochemical parameters, either Cu oxide nanowires or nanoneedles were fabricated and then electrochemically reduced to the corresponding Cu nanomaterials. The Cu nanowires preferred the formation of C2H4, while the Cu nanoneedles favored the production of more CH4, rather than C2H4. Our work provides a facile synthetic strategy for preparing Cu-based nanomaterials to achieve selective CO2 reduction.

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Removal of decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209) by sepiolite-supported nanoscale zerovalent iron
Rongbing FU,Na MU,Xiaopin GUO,Zhen XU,Dongsu BI
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 867-878.

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Nanoscale zerovalent iron (nZVI) synthesized using sepiolite as a supporter was used to investigate the removal kinetics and mechanisms of decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209). BDE-209 was rapidly removed by the prepared sepiolite-supported nZVI with a reaction rate that was 5 times greater than that of the conventionally prepared nZVI because of its high surface area and reactivity. The degradation of BDE-209 occurred in a stepwise debromination manner, which followed pseudo-first-order kinetics. The removal efficiency of BDE-209 increased with increasing dosage of sepiolite-supported nZVI particles and decreasing pH, and the efficiency decreased with increasing initial BDE-209 concentrations. The presence of tetrahydrofuran (THF) as a cosolvent at certain volume fractions in water influenced the degradation rate of sepiolite-supported nZVI. Debromination pathways of BDE-209 with sepiolite-supported nZVI were proposed based on the identified reaction intermediates, which ranged from nona- to mono-brominated diphenylethers (BDEs) under acidic conditions and nona- to penta-BDEs under alkaline conditions. Adsorption on sepiolite-supported nZVI particles also played a role in the removal of BDE-209. Our findings indicate that the particles have potential applications in removing environmental pollutants, such as halogenated organic contaminants.

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Effect of humic acid and metal ions on the debromination of BDE209 by nZVM prepared from steel pickling waste liquor
Yuling CAI,Bin LIANG,Zhanqiang FANG,Yingying XIE,Eric Pokeung TSANG
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 879-887.

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As a promising in situ remediation technology, nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) can remove polybrominated diphenyl ethers such as decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE209) effectively, However its use is limited by its high production cost. Using steel pickling waste liquor as a raw material to prepare nanoscale zero-valent metal (nZVM) can overcome this deficiency. It has been shown that humic acid and metal ions have the greatest influence on remediation. The results showed that nZVM and nZVI both can effectively remove BDE209 with little difference in their removal efficiencies, and humic acid inhibited the removal efficiency, whereas metal ions promoted it. The promoting effects followed the order Ni2+>Cu2+>Co2+ and the cumulative effect of the two factors was a combination of the promoting and inhibitory individual effects. The major difference between nZVM and nZVI lies in their crystal form, as nZVI was found to be amorphous while that of nZVM was crystal. However, it was found that both nZVM and nZVI removed BDE209 with similar removal efficiencies. The effects and cumulative effects of humic acid and metal ions on nZVM and nZVI were very similar in terms of the efficiency of the BDE209 removal.

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Catalytic activity of noble metal nanoparticles toward hydrodechlorination: influence of catalyst electronic structure and nature of adsorption
Man ZHANG,Feng HE,Dongye ZHAO
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 888-896.

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In this study, stabilized Pd, Pt and Au nanoparticles were successfully prepared in aqueous phase using sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) as a capping agent. These metal nanoparticles were then tested for catalytic hydrodechlorination toward two classes of organochlorinated compounds (vinyl polychlorides including trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and alkyl polychlorides including 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA), and 1,1,1,2-tetrachloroethane (1,1,1,2-TeCA)) to determine the rate-limiting steps and to explore the reaction mechanisms. The surface area normalized reaction rate constant, kSA, showed a systematic dependence on the electronic structure (the density of states at the Fermi level) of the metals, suggesting that adsorption of organochlorinated reactants on the metal catalyst surfaces is the rate-limiting step for catalytic hydrodechlorination. Hydrodechlorination rates of 1,1,1-TCA and 1,1,1,2-TeCA agreed with the bond strength of the first (weakest) dissociated C-Cl bond, suggesting that C-Cl bond cleavage, which is the first step for dissociative adsorption of the alkyl polychlorides, controlled the catalytic hydrodechlorination rate. However, hydrodechlorination rates of TCE and PCE correlated with the adsorption energies of their molecular (non-dissociative) adsorption on the noble metals rather than with the first C-Cl bond strength, suggesting that molecular adsorption governs the reaction rate for hydrodechlorination of the vinyl polychlorides.

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Efficient and selective electro-reduction of nitrobenzene by the nano-structured Cu catalyst prepared by an electrodeposited method via tuning applied voltage
Yali CHEN,Lu XIONG,Weikang WANG,Xing ZHANG,Hanqing YU
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 897-904.

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Pollution caused by toxic nitrobenzene has been a widespread environmental concern. Selective reduction of nitrobenzene to aniline is beneficial to further efficient and cost-effective biologic treatment. Electrochemical reduction is a promising method and Cu-based catalysts have been found to be an efficient cathode material for this purpose. In this work, Cu catalysts with different morphologies were fabricated on Ti plate using a facile electrodepositon method via tuning the applied voltage. The dendritic nano-structured Cu catalysts obtained at high applied voltages exhibited an excellent efficiency and selectivity toward the reduction of nitrobenzene to aniline. Effects of the working potential and initial nitrobenzene concentration on the selective reduction of nitrobenzene to aniline using the Cu/Ti electrode were investigated. A high rate constant of 0.0251 min−1 and 97.1% aniline selectivity were achieved. The fabricated nano-structured Cu catalysts also exhibited good stability. This work provides a facile way to prepare highly efficient, cost-effective, and stable nano-structured electrocatalysts for pollutant reduction.

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Effects of nano-silicon and common silicon on lead uptake and translocation in two rice cultivars
Jianguo LIU,Hui CAI,Congcong MEI,Mingxin WANG
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 905-911.

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The current study investigated the effects of nano-silicon (Si) and common Si on lead (Pb) toxicity, uptake, translocation, and accumulation in the rice cultivars Yangdao 6 and Yu 44 grown in soil containing two different Pb levels (500 mg·kg−1 and 1000 mg·kg−1). The results showed that Si application alleviated the toxic effects of Pb on rice growth. Under soil Pb treatments of 500 and 1000 mg·kg−1, the biomasses of plants supplied with common Si and nano-Si were 1.8%–5.2% and 3.3%–11.8% higher, respectively, than those of plants with no Si supply (control). Compared to the control, Pb concentrations in rice shoots supplied with common Si and nano-Si were reduced by 14.3%–31.4% and 27.6%–54.0%, respectively. Pb concentrations in rice grains treated with common Si and nano-Si decreased by 21.3%–40.9% and 38.6%–64.8%, respectively. Pb translocation factors (TFs) from roots to shoots decreased by 15.0%–29.3% and 25.6%–50.8%, respectively. The TFs from shoots to grains reduced by 8.3%–13.7% and 15.3%–21.1%, respectively, after Si application. The magnitudes of the effects observed on plants decreased in the following order: nano-Si treatment>common Si treatment and high-grain-Pb-accumulating cultivar (Yangdao 6)>low-grain-Pb-accumulating cultivar (Yu 44) and heavy Pb stress (1000 mg·kg−1)>moderate Pb stress (500 mg·kg−1)>no Pb treatment. The results of the study indicate that nano-Si is more efficient than common Si in ameliorating the toxic effects of Pb on rice growth, preventing Pb transfer from rice roots to aboveground parts, and blocking Pb accumulation in rice grains, especially in high-Pb-accumulating rice cultivars and in heavily Pb-polluted soils.

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Ecotoxicological effect of zinc oxide nanoparticles on soil microorganisms
Zhaoyi SHEN,Zhuo CHEN,Zhen HOU,Tingting LI,Xiaoxia LU
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 912-918.

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The widespread production and use of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) in recent years have posed potential threat to the ecosystem. This study aimed to investigate the ecotoxicological effect of ZnO-NPs on soil microorganisms using laboratory microcosm test. Respiration, ammonification, dehydrogenase (DH) activity, and fluorescent diacetate hydrolase (FDAH) activity were used as ecotoxicological parameters. The results showed that in the neutral soil treated with 1 mg ZnO-NPs per g soil (fresh, neutral), ammonification was significantly inhibited during the study period of three months, but the inhibition rate decreased over increasing time. Inhibition in respiration was observed in the first month of the test. In various ZnO-NPs treatments (1 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg ZnO-NPs per g soil), DH activity and FDAH activity were inhibited during the study period of one month. For both enzyme activities, there were positive dose–response relationships between the concentration of ZnO-NPs and the inhibition rates, but the curves changed over time due to changes of ZnO-NPs toxicity. Soil type affected the toxicity of ZnO-NPs in soil. The toxicity was highest in the acid soil, followed by the neutral soil. The toxicity was relatively low in the alkaline soil. The toxicity was not accounted for by the Zn2+ released from the ZnO-NPs. Direct interaction of ZnO-NPs with biologic targets might be one of the reasons. The adverse effect of ZnO-NPs on soil microorganisms in neutral and acid soils is worthy of attention.

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Efficient dechlorination of 2,4-dichlorophenol in an aqueous media with a mild pH using a Pd/TiO2NTs/Ti cathode
Jiangkun DU,Jianguo BAO,Wei HU
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 919-928.

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In this study, palladium-loaded titania nanotubes was fabricated on a titanium plate (Pd/TiO2NTs/Ti) for efficient electrodechlorination of 2,4-chlorophenol with a mild pH condition. The nature of Pd/TiO2NTs/Ti electrodes was characterized by field-emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and cyclic voltammetry (CV) techniques. The characterization results indicated the generation of Pd0 nanoparticles which were evenly dispersed on titania nanotubes arrays on the Pd/TiO2NTs/Ti surface. An effective degradation efficiency of up to 91% was achieved within 60 min at cathode potential of −0.7 V (vs. SCE) and initial pH of 5.5. The effects of the applied cathode potential and initial pH on the degradation efficiency were studied. A near neutral condition was more favorable since very low and very high pHs were not conducive to the dechlorination process. Furthermore, the intermediates analysis showed that the Pd/TiO2NTs/Ti electrode could completely remove chlorine from 2, 4-dichlorophenol since only phenol was detected as the byproduct and the concentration of released chlorine ions indicated near-complete dechlorination. This work presents a good alternative technique for eliminating persistent chlorophenols in polluted wastewater without maintaining strong acidic environment.

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Nexus between polymer support and metal oxide nanoparticles in hybrid nanosorbent materials (HNMs) for sorption/desorption of target ligands
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 929-938.

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Metal oxide nanoparticles like hydrated ferric oxide (HFO) or hydrated zirconium oxide (HZrO) are excellent sorbents for environmentally significant ligands like phosphate, arsenic, or fluoride, present at trace concentrations. Since the sorption capacity is surface dependent for HFO and HZrO, nanoscale sizes offer significant enhancement in performance. However, due to their miniscule sizes, low attrition resistance, and poor durability they are unable to be used in typical plug-flow column setups. Meanwhile ion exchange resins, which have no specific affinity toward anionic ligands, are durable and chemically stable. By impregnating metal oxide nanoparticles inside a polymer support, with or without functional groups, a hybrid nanosorbent material (HNM) can be prepared. A HNM is durable, mechanically strong, and chemically stable. The functional groups of the polymeric support will affect the overall removal efficiency of the ligands exerted by the Donnan Membrane Effect. For example, the removal of arsenic by HFO or the removal of fluoride by HZrO is enhanced by using anion exchange resins. The HNM can be precisely tuned to remove one type of contaminant over another type. Also, the physical morphology of the support material, spherical bead versus ion exchange fiber, has a significant effect on kinetics of sorption and desorption. HNMs also possess dual sorption sites and are capable of removing multiple contaminants, namely, arsenate and perchlorate, concurrently.

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Iron-carbon composite microspheres prepared through a facile aerosol-based process for the simultaneous adsorption and reduction of chlorinated hydrocarbons
Bhanukiran SUNKARA,Yang SU,Jingjing ZHAN,Jibao HE,Gary L. MCPHERSON,Vijay T. JOHN
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2015, 9 (5): 939-947.

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Iron-carbon (Fe-C) composite microspheres prepared through a facile aerosol-based process are effective remediation agents for the simultaneous adsorption and reduction of chlorinated hydrocarbons. Complete dechlorination was achieved for the class of chlorinated ethenes that include tetrachloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), cis- and trans-1,2-dicloroethylene (c-DCE, t-DCE), 1,1-dichloroethylene (1,1-DCE) and, vinyl chloride (VC). The Fe-C particles potentially provides multi-functionality with requisite characteristics of adsorption, reaction, and transport for the effective in situ remediation of chlorinated hydrocarbons. The carbon support immobilizes the ferromagnetic iron nanoparticles onto its surface, thereby inhibiting aggregation. The adsorptive nature of the carbon support prevents the release of toxic intermediates such as the dichloroethylenes and vinyl chloride. The adsorption of chlorinated ethenes on the Fe-C composites is higher (>80%) than that of humic acid (<35%) and comparable to adsorption on commercial activated carbons (>90%). The aerosol-based process is an efficient method to prepare adsorptive-reactive composite particles in the optimal size range for transport through the porous media and as effective targeted delivery agents for the in situ remediation of soil and groundwater contaminants.

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