A Nanoselenium Sponge for Instantaneous Mercury Removal to Undetectable Levels

Snober Ahmed, John W Brockgreitens, Ke Xu, Abdennour ABBAS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Selective removal of aqueous mercury to levels below 10 ng L−1 or part per trillion remains an elusive goal for public health and environmental agencies. Here, it is shown that a low-cost nanocomposite sponge prepared by growing selenium (Se) nanomaterials on the surface and throughout the bulk of a polyurethane sponge exhibits a record breaking-mercury ion (Hg2+) removal rate, regardless of the pH. The exposure of aqueous solutions containing 10 mg L−1–12 ng L−1 Hg2+ to the sponge for a few seconds results in clean water with undetectable mercury levels (detection limit: 0.2 ng L−1). Such performance is far below the acceptable limits in drinking water (2 µg L−1), industrial effluents (0.2 µg L−1), and the most stringent surface water quality standards (1.3 ng L−1). The sponge shows a unique preference for Hg, does not retain water nutrients, and can significantly reduce the concentration of other heavy metal pollutants. Furthermore, the sponge shows no cytotoxic effect on human cells while exhibiting strong antimicrobial properties. The high affinity of Hg for Se results in irreversible sequestration and detoxification of mercury by the sponge, confirming the suitability for landfill disposal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1606572
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Volume27
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - May 4 2017

Fingerprint

Selenium
Mercury
Detoxification
Public health
Land fill
Surface waters
Nanostructured materials
Waste disposal
Potable water
Nutrients
Heavy metals
Polyurethanes
Water quality
Water
Effluents
Nanocomposites
Cells
selenium
Ions
Heavy Metals

Keywords

  • mercury removal
  • mercury sorbents
  • nanocomposites
  • nanoselenium sponges
  • nanotechnology

Cite this

A Nanoselenium Sponge for Instantaneous Mercury Removal to Undetectable Levels. / Ahmed, Snober; Brockgreitens, John W; Xu, Ke; ABBAS, Abdennour.

In: Advanced Functional Materials, Vol. 27, No. 17, 1606572, 04.05.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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