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Remediation of mercury contaminated saltwater with functionalized silica coated magnetite nanoparticles

Mohmood, Iram, Lopes, Cláudia B., Lopes, Isabel, Tavares, Daniela S., Soares, Amadeu M.V.M., Duarte, Armando C., Trindade, Tito, Ahmad, Iqbal, Pereira, Eduarda
The Science of the total environment 2016 v.557-558 pp. 712-721
Artemia franciscana, Brachionus plicatilis, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, Vibrio fischeri, arsenic, bacteria, cadmium, decontamination, ecotoxicology, magnetite, mercury, microalgae, nanoparticles, remediation, saline water, salts, seawater, silica, sorption, toxicity
The study aimed to evaluate the efficiency of dithiocarbamate functionalized silica coated magnetite nanoparticles (NPs) for Hg decontamination of saltwater either contaminated with Hg alone or with As and Cd. For this, the residual levels of Hg in seawater were assessed and Hg-contaminated or Hg+As+Cd-contaminated seawater toxicity to aquatic biota, before and after the sorption process, was compared. The results showed that under highly competitive conditions (water salts, Cd and As), the removal of Hg from seawater, by using these magnetic NPs, for the lowest concentration (50μg/L) was superior to 98% and for the highest concentration (500μg/L) ranged between 61% to 67%. Despite the great affinity of the magnetic NPs for Hg, they were not effective at removing As and Cd from seawater. In relation to the ecotoxicity endpoints after remediation, the mixture with lower Hg concentration exhibited no toxicity to rotifer Brachionus plicatilis and bacteria Vibrio fischeri ; however, the mixture with higher concentration revealed toxicity. In addition, the toxicity of bacteria V. fischeri, rotifer B. plicatilis and algae Phaeodactylum tricornutum, whose responses where inhibited during its exposure to the non-remediate sample was considerably reduced after treatment with NPs. Furthermore, microalgae P. tricornutum appears to be most sensitive species while Artemia franciscana showed no toxic effects to the tested solutions. Both chemical and ecotoxicological approaches revealed a high efficiency for the remediation of Hg-contaminated saltwater.