Heavy metal pollution and the role of inorganic nanomaterials in environmental remediation

Michael B. Mensah, David Lewis, Nathaniel Owusu Boadi, Johannes A.M. Awudza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contamination of water and soil with toxic heavy metals is a major threat to human health. Although extensive work has been performed on reporting heavy metal pollutions globally, there are limited review articles on addressing this pernicious phenomenon. This paper reviews inorganic nanoparticles and provides a framework to their qualities required as good nanoadsorbents for efficient removal of heavy metals from water. Different inorganic nanoparticles including metals, metal oxides, and metal sulfides nanoparticles have been applied as nanoadsorbents to successfully treat water with high contaminations of heavy metals at concentrations greater than 100 mg/L, achieving high adsorption capacities up to 3449 mg/g. It has been identified that the synthesis method, selectivity, stability, regeneration, and reusability, and adsorbent separation from solution are critical parameters in deciding on the quality of inorganic nanoadsorbents. Surface functionalized nanoadsorbents were found to possess high selectivity and capacity for heavy metals removal from water even at a very low adsorbent dosage of less than 2 g/L, which makes them better than conventional adsorbents in environmental remediation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2021


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