Welcome our new Editor-in-Chief – Peter Vikesland

We are delighted to announce that Professor Peter Vikesland joins the Environmental Science: Nano team as Editor-in-Chief from 1st January 2018

Peter Vikesland is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, USA. His  research interests include nanomaterials in the environment and improved sensors for drinking water. His research on the environmental implications of nanotechnology examines the effects of solution chemistry on the aggregation and dissolution of environmentally relevant nanoparticles.

Peter says: “It is truly an honor for me to be named the second Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Science: Nano. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with our outstanding group of Associate Editors, our Editorial Board, our Advisory Board, and all of the wonderful people at the Royal Society of Chemistry who manage the day to day operation of Environmental Science: Nano and its sister journals Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts and Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology.

Since launch, the journal has been led by inaugural Editor-in-Chief Professor Vicki Grassian (UC San Diego) whose term as Editor-in-Chief finishes at the end of 2017, as is Royal Society of Chemistry policy. Professor Grassian says: “I was really excited to see the community embrace the journal and work hard as authors, reviewers and editorial board members to insure its success. It has been my honour to be the inaugural Editor-in-Chief and I am so pleased to be passing this position on to Peter.”

Read this recent Open Access paper by Professor Vikesland in Environmental Science: Nano:

Waste not want not: life cycle implications of gold recovery and recycling from nanowaste
Paramjeet Pati, Sean McGinnis and Peter J. Vikesland

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Smog eating paint does more harm than good

Written for Chemistry World by Harriet Fletcher

Photocatalytic paints for reducing air pollution may actually do the opposite

A study by scientists in France and China has raised questions about the effectiveness of paints formulated to combat air pollution. Whilst the paints decompose some pollutants, the research revealed they also generate and release other toxic compounds.

Urban air pollution is a common problem in many of the world’s cities; vehicles and power stations are the primary culprits. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, when exposed to UV light, can oxidise organic compounds in the air. When added to paint, they present a quick fix for reducing air pollution. However, the overall improvement to air quality is dubious.

An illustration of the emission of VOCs and nanoparticles from photocatalytic paints

a) Photocatalytic paints contain titanium dioxide nanoparticles. b) Ultraviolet radiation activates the titanium dioxide nanoparticles, which degrade ambient VOCs, as well as the organic matrix of the paint, releasing new VOCs into the air. c) As the paint ages, it releases titanium dioxide nanoparticles too. Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry

So says Sasho Gligorvoski, from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his team who have found that photocatalytic paints release significant quantities of nanoparticles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) over their lifetime. This is especially problematic indoors, where the chemicals accumulate over time.

 

Read the full article in Chemistry World.


Characterization of photocatalytic paints: a relationship between the photocatalytic properties – release of nanoparticles and volatile organic compounds
D. Truffier-Boutry, B. Fiorentino, V. Bartolomei, R. Soulas, O. Sicardy, A. Benayad, J.-F. Damlencourt, B. Pépin-Donat, C. Lombard, A. Gandolfo, H. Wortham, G. Brochard, A. Audemard, L. Porcar, G. Gebel and S. Gligorovski
Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2017
DOI: 10.1039/C7EN00467B

 

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Pannano- 2017

The 1st Pan American Congress of Nanotechnology Fundamentals and Applications to Shape the Future​ (Pannano-2017) is taking place in Guarujá, Brazil on 27th – 30th November 2017. This conference will provide a venue for understanding nanotechnology and nanoparticles behavior in biological, chemical and environmental systems with the purpose to develop useful and sustainable applications of nanotechnologies throughout the Pan-American region. This conference will be the single best opportunity to reach the largest assemblage of participants from all over the globe. Learn more about Nanotechnology and nanomaterials, networking and build relationships and partnerships in the field.

The conference has a wide range of themes, including:

  • Biological-nano interations
  • Chemical-nano interactions
  • Ecological-nano interactions
  • Nanomanufacturing
  • Nanoinformatics and Modeling
  • Sustainability
  • Education and entrepreneurship

Keynote speakers include Environmental Science: Nano Editor-in-Chief, Vicki Grassian (University of California San Diego, USA) and Associate Editor, Greg Lowry (Carnegie Mellon University, USA), as well as Mike Roco, Jorge Gardea-TorresdeyNelson Durán and Marcelo J. Kogan.

Key Dates:

Early Bird Registration: 1st September 2017

Abstract Submission: 30th September 2017

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Tiny virus batteries remove water pollutant

Written for Chemistry World by Eve Rooks

Metal nanoparticles turn viruses into tiny batteries that reduce toxic compound in just 10 minutes

Scientists have developed a method to remove a common persistent pollutant in under 10 minutes using metal nanoparticles supported on genetically modified viruses. Each metal-studded virus acts as a tiny battery, electrochemically reducing the pollutant to a less toxic compound.

Para-chloronitrobenzene is a carcinogen and toxic when inhaled, consumed or absorbed through the skin. It is widely used in dyes, synthetic materials and pesticides. As a persistent organic pollutant, it accumulates in lakes and rivers, where it sticks around for decades. A common method of reducing the compound to the safer para-chloroaniline uses metal nanoparticles, often iron. However, this method is slow and requires like high temperature or high acidity. Moreover, with continued use, nanoparticles tend to clump together, which makes them much less effective.

Now, Huimin Yu and colleagues from Tsinghua University in China can reduce chloronitrobenzene in less than 10 minutes using genetically modified viruses. They decorated the outside of the viruses with iron and nickel nanoparticles; the difference in electric potential between the metals converts the viruses into micro-batteries, which can reduce more chloronitrobenzene in the same time than simple iron nanoparticles.

Read the full article in Chemistry World.


Design of the nanoarray pattern Fe–Ni bi-metal nanoparticles@M13 virus for the enhanced reduction of p-chloronitrobenzene through the micro-electrolysis effect

Shuai Zhang, Huimin Yu, Ji Yang and Zhongyao Shen

Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2017, 4, 876-885

DOI: 10.1039/C7EN00120G

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8th International Symposium on Nanotechnology, Occupational and Environmental Health

The 8th International Symposium on Nanotechnology, Occupational and Environmental Health will be taking place in Elsinore, Denmark on 29th May to 1st June 2017

The aim of the NanOEH Conference 2017 is to provide a platform for presentation of the current knowledge on nanosafety in the working environment as well as in the general environment and of the current state of the art for strategies for exposure assessment, hazard evaluation and risk assessment. The theme of this years conference is ‘Closing the gaps in nanosafety’. It is set to have a great program, including: keynote speakers, thematic sessions, oral sessions, and poster sessions. In addition there will be a special initiative for early career researchers including an Early Career Researcher Award.

Early Bird registration Deadline is 23rd April, so register now to avoid disappointment!

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Uncovering the effect of nonreactive clays on natural groundwater attenuation

an article by Dan Mercea, PhD student at Imperial College London

Nitroaromatic compounds (NACs) are widely employed in the explosives (e.g. trinitrotoluene, TNT) and pesticides industries and as intermediates in chemical synthesis. They can show strong toxic and carcinogenic effects resulting from the tendency of the nitro group to participate in radical formation reactions. Following their extensive use NACs have become prevalent contaminants in groundwater, situation which poses an obvious risk towards population exposure through drinking water supplies.

Natural attenuation of groundwater involves the removal of contaminants by natively occurring microorganisms or by abiotic transformations, situation beneficial in theory, with human intervention required only to monitor the process. The potential for natural attenuation in the case of NAC contamination is under analysis.

One process which contributes towards the removal of NACs involves their reaction with Fe(II) dissolved in groundwater in the presence of iron oxide nanoparticles such as goethite. The system functions by allowing adsorption of both Fe (II) and the NAC onto the nanoparticle surface before reaction occurs.

Under natural conditions the occurrence of nonreactive clays together with the iron oxide deposits is widespread. The effect such clays have remains unexplored despite extensive research having been carried out into the process of natural groundwater attenuation.

Arnold and Penn have performed a study to elucidate the effect that kaolinite (a nonreactive clay) has on the reduction of 4-chloronitrobenzene (a model NAC contaminant) by the widespread Fe(II)/goethite system. Measuring the rate of reaction in the presence and absence of kaolinite revealed the detrimental effect the clay component had on the decontamination process.

A detailed study was carried out by employing specialised cryo-microscopy analysis of the particles present within the reaction mixtures. Normal microscopy techniques were deemed unsuitable as the process of sample preparation required their drying. Freezing the liquid samples instead allowed for the true nature of the solution to be analysed without alteration.

Deciding whether decontamination can be carried out through an active or passive method relies on a detailed understanding of the processes occurring on site. The current study adds to the body of knowledge necessary for such an analysis and draws attention to the role of some of the major components found on sites for which natural attenuation is under consideration.

Full details about the study can be accessed free of charge for a limited time:

Effect of nonreactive kaolinite on 4-chloronitrobenzene reduction by Fe(II) in goethite–kaolinite heterogeneous suspensions

Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2017,4, 325-334

DOI: 10.1039/C6EN00469E


About the webwriter
Dan Mercea is a PhD student in the Fuchter group at Imperial College London. He is working on developing enantioselective FLP catalysis.
—————-

*Access is free until 14th April 2017 through a registered RSC account – register here

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Outstanding Reviewers for Environmental Science: Nano in 2016

Following the success of Peer Review Week in September 2016 (dedicated to reviewer recognition) during which we published a list of our top reviewers, we are delighted to announce that we will continue to recognise the contribution that our reviewers make to the journal by announcing our Outstanding Reviewers each year.

We would like to highlight the Outstanding Reviewers for Environmental Science: Nano in 2016, as selected by the editorial team, for their significant contribution to the journal. The reviewers have been chosen based on the number, timeliness and quality of the reports completed over the last 12 months.

We would like to say a big thank you to those individuals listed here as well as to all of the reviewers that have supported the journal. Each Outstanding Reviewer will receive a certificate to give recognition for their significant contribution.

Dr Leanne Gilbertson, University of Pittsburgh
Dr Melanie Kah, University of Vienna
Dr Stacey Louie, University of Houston,
Dr Armand Masion, Cerege – Centre Européen de Recherche et d’Enseignement des Géosciences de l’Environnement
Dr Elijah Petersen, NIST
Dr Willie Peijnenburg, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment
Professor Debora Rodrigues, University of Houston
Dr Weiqun Shi, Institute of High Energy Physics
Dr Laura Sigg, Eawag
Dr Jason White, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

We would also like to thank the Environmental Science: Nano board and the environmental science community for their continued support of the journal, as authors, reviewers and readers.

 

If you would like to become a reviewer for our journal, just email us with details of your research interests and an up-to-date CV or résumé.  You can find more details in our author and reviewer resource centre.

 

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Finding a synthetic nanoparticle in a haystack

Written by Colin King for Chemistry World

New analytical approach can detect engineered nanoparticles in the environment

Autumn plowed fields farm house

Source: © Shutterstock

Scientists from Austria and Switzerland have developed a new way to distinguish engineered nanoparticles from naturally occurring nanoscale particles in soil samples. The method works even at concentrations orders of magnitude below natural background levels.

Everyday items, such as cosmetics and textiles, increasingly contain nanoparticles. Concerns regarding nanoparticles’ potential impact on health and the environment mean regulators want to monitor synthetic nanoparticle (for example TiO2, SiO2 and CeO2) levels in the environment. However, samples often contain natural nanoparticles of similar size and composition, often at much higher concentrations. Conventional single-particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (spICP-MS), where the instrument locks onto one isotope, is unable to tell them apart.

 

After working in the area for several years, Frank von der Kammer and Thilo Hofmannfrom the University of Vienna and co-workers have now made a breakthrough based on multi-elemental fingerprinting to explore differences, such as elemental ratio, between engineered and natural nanoparticles. The team tested the concept using an instrument, developed by colleagues at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, that enables single particle analysis on a time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOFMS). The prototype spICP-TOFMS instrument is so fast, it not only measures all of the different elements simultaneously, it does so for every particle. They then developed a machine-learning algorithm to train the analytical system, using well-defined standards of both types of nanoparticles, to increase the speed and precision of the analysis.

 

Read the full article in Chemistry World.


Single-particle multi-element fingerprinting (spMEF) using inductively-coupled plasma time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ICP-TOFMS) to identify engineered nanoparticles against the elevated natural background in soils
Antonia Praetorius, Alexander Gundlach-Graham, Eli Goldberg, Willi Fabienke, Jana Navratilova, Andreas Gondikas, Ralf Kaegi, Detlef Günther, Thilo Hofmann and Frank von der Kammer
Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2017
DOI: 10.1039/C6EN00455E

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Metal-guzzling plants harvested to make nanomaterials

Written by Will Bergius for Chemistry World

Vegetation that cleanses contaminated soil adds to its virtues

 

Brassica juncea

Brassica juncea, a type of mustard plant, absorbs heavy metals through its roots. Source: © iStock

Plants partial to a diet of heavy metals are an ideal raw material for nanomaterials once they have cleaned up contaminated soil. So says a team of Chinese scientists behind a method that turns this vegetation into nanoparticles and nanotubes.

 

Heavy metals are naturally occurring elements with important industrial, agricultural and technological uses. Many human activities such as mining and industry lead to the local build-up of toxic heavy metals in soil and groundwater. Typically toxic and carcinogenic, their release into the environment is a major concern as they can accumulate in the food chain, damaging the health of wildlife and humans alike.

 

Certain plant species known as hyperaccumulators can grow in soil contaminated with heavy metals. They absorb the metals through their roots and concentrate them in their own tissues – a genetic trait designed to make themselves toxic to hungry herbivores. These plants have been used in the past to clean up contaminated areas; a technique called phytoremediation. Once the plants have extracted the metals, they themselves need to be removed, as if left to complete their natural lifecycle they would simply return the metals to the soil. The metal-containing plant waste is often incinerated.

 

Now, Jiao Qu and his team at Northeast Normal University in China have used this biomass as a raw material to make useful nanomaterials.

 

Read the full article in Chemistry World.


A cost-effective method for recycling carbon and metals in plants: synthesizing nanomaterials
Haiyang Liu, Miao Ren, Jiao Qu, Yue Feng, Xiangmeng Song, Qian Zhang, Qiao Cong and Xing Yuan
Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2017
DOI: 10.1039/C6EN00287K

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What are your colleagues reading in Environmental Science: Nano?

The articles below are some of the most read Environmental Science: Nano articles in 2016. You can view the full collection of our top 10 downloaded articles here.

 

Formation of supported lipid bilayers containing phase-segregated domains and their interaction with gold nanoparticles
Eric S. Melby, Arielle C. Mensch, Samuel E. Lohse, Dehong Hu, Galya Orr, Catherine J. Murphy, Robert J. Hamers and Joel A. Pedersen

 

Recent advances in halloysite nanotube derived composites for water treatment
Liang Yu, Huixian Wang, Yatao Zhang, Bin Zhang and Jindun Liu

 

Environmental processes and toxicity of metallic nanoparticles in aquatic systems as affected by natural organic matter
Zhenyu Wang, Lei Zhang, Jian Zhao and Baoshan Xing

 

Effects of crystallite size on the structure and magnetism of ferrihydrite
Xiaoming Wang, Mengqiang Zhu, Luuk K. Koopal, Wei Li, Wenqian Xu, Fan Liu, Jing Zhang, Qingsong Liu, Xionghan Feng and Donald L. Sparks

 

Graphene–carbon nanotube aerogel as an ultra-light, compressible and recyclable highly efficient absorbent for oil and dyes
Wenchao Wan, Ruiyang Zhang, Wei Li, Hao Liu, Yuanhua Lin, Lina Li and Ying Zhou

 

Keep up-to-date with the latest issues of Environmental Science: Nano by joining our e-alerts.

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