Researchers in Iran have announced a method of removing mercury from water. From the Aug. 6, 2012 news item on Nanowerk,
A research team from Martyr Chamran University of Ahvaz [Iran] succeeded in the elimination of mercury from aqueous media by using 2-mercaptobenzothiazole and by coating it on the magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles. Removal of mercury from water at lower concentrations was carried out by using the same compound successfully.
… According to the results of the experiments, the nano adsorbent is able to rapidly adsorb mercury at low concentrations. It causes the amount of mercury remaining in the environment to be less than the amount announced by WHO.
You can find the study (Fast and efficient removal of mercury from water samples using magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles modified with 2-mercaptobenzothiazole) behind a paywall in the Journal of Hazardous Materials.
Moving onto the work at Clemson University in South Carolina (US), researchers there have developed a dendrimer-fullerenol which could be used for cleaning up the environment and/or drug delivery. From the Aug. 6, 2012 news item on Nanowerk (Note: This seems to have been written by the study’s lead author, Priyanka Bhattacharya),
Our recent paper, “Dendrimer-fullerenol soft-condensed nanoassembly” [behind a paywall] published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, showed how the soft nanomaterial dendrimer can be used to remediate the environment from potentially toxic nanomaterials. Here, we used fullerenol – a 60 carbon molecule in the shape of a buckyball and functionalized with hydroxyl groups – as a model system. Such an assembly also has implications for drug delivery.
Here’s an image the researchers included with their published study,
Here’s a little more about the dendrimers,
Dendrimers are highly branched, polymeric macromolecules with a high degree of surface functionalities. Their branching determines their generation number (G) – the higher the generation, the greater the degree of surface functionalities. We used both G1 and G4 poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers and found that both these dendrimers hosted one fullerenol per primary amine on the dendrimer surfaces. However, G4 PAMAM dendrimers hosted fullerenols 40 times better than G1, simply because of their higher degree of surface functionalities. Based on our findings, we recommended proper loading capacities of fullerenols for G1 and G4 dendrimers in drug delivery and environmental remediation.
You can also find this news item in an Aug. 6, 2012 postingfeaturing images of the lead author (Priyanka Bhattacharya is a Ph.D. student at Clemson Universitys College of Engineering and Science) on the ScienceCodex website,
Our group, led by my advisor Dr. Pu-Chun Ke and funded by the National Science Foundation, has delved into a crucial topic of frontier research termed “nanoparticle-protein corona”. In short, nanoparticles do not interact directly with living systems but are often coated with biological fluids in the form of a protein corona. Another direction in our group, through collaboration between Dr. Ke and Dr. David Ladner in Clemson’s Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences and funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is to employ dendritic polymers for remediating oil spills.
(It’s unusual to see a news release written in the first person.)
I’m glad to see more research about exploiting nanotechnology for environmental cleanups.