Project 4: Metal-based Nanoparticles and Water Remediation

Project 4 – Metal-based Nanoparticles for Groundwater and Surface Water Remediation: Limitations, Concerns, Synergies, and Antagonistic Effects in Bioremediation

What do we do?

One method of remediating, or cleaning up, contaminated sites is the use of nanoparticles.  Nanoparticles are extremely small particles, usually smaller than 1,000 nanometers.  How small is this?  Well for comparison, a very fine human hair is about 10,000 nanometers wide.  Nanoparticles are used for cleaning up contaminated sites because when they are mixed with contaminants a specific reaction, called a redox reaction, takes place.  This type of reaction usually changes chemicals so they aren’t as dangerous or toxic.  For this project, we explore how two different nanoparticles, zero-valent iron (NVI) and titanium dioxide (TiO2), can be used to clean up sites in a way that complements the remediation carried out by natural bacteria in soils and sediments (soil in the bottom of rivers, lakes, etc.).  We also investigate how NVI and TiO2 may be possible contaminants on their own.

How do we do it?

We are looking specifically at how nanoparticles clean-up sites polluted with three different types of pollutants: organophosphates, PAHs, and a polybrominated flame retardant.

Who are we?

Dr. Mark Wiesner (Wiesner Lab)
Dr. Claudia Gunsch (Gunsch Lab)
Dr. Helen Hsu-Kim (Hsu-Kim Lab)
Jeff Farner Budarz, PhD candidate (Wiesner)
Lauren Czaplicki, PhD candidate (Gunsch)
Lauren Redfern, PhD student (Gunsch)
Nathan Bossa, Postdoctoral Associate (Wiesner)