Pedro J. J. Alvarez
Other affiliations: University of Minnesota, University of Michigan, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina ...read more
Bio: Pedro J. J. Alvarez is an academic researcher from Rice University. The author has contributed to research in topic(s): Bioremediation & BTEX. The author has an hindex of 89, co-authored 378 publication(s) receiving 34837 citation(s). Previous affiliations of Pedro J. J. Alvarez include University of Minnesota & University of Michigan.
Topics: Bioremediation, BTEX, Bioaugmentation, Adsorption, Biodegradation
Papers published on a yearly basis
TL;DR: This review critiques existing nanomaterial research in freshwater, marine, and soil environments and illustrates the paucity of existing research and demonstrates the need for additional research.
Abstract: The recent advances in nanotechnology and the corresponding increase in the use of nanomaterials in products in every sector of society have resulted in uncertainties regarding environmental impacts. The objectives of this review are to introduce the key aspects pertaining to nanomaterials in the environment and to discuss what is known concerning their fate, behavior, disposition, and toxicity, with a particular focus on those that make up manufactured nanomaterials. This review critiques existing nanomaterial research in freshwater, marine, and soil environments. It illustrates the paucity of existing research and demonstrates the need for additional research. Environmental scientists are encouraged to base this research on existing studies on colloidal behavior and toxicology. The need for standard reference and testing materials as well as methodology for suspension preparation and testing is also discussed.
01 Nov 2008-Water Research
TL;DR: The antimicrobial mechanisms of several nanoparticles are reviewed, their merits, limitations and applicability for water disinfection and biofouling control are discussed, and research needs to utilize novel nanomaterials for water treatment applications are highlighted.
Abstract: The challenge to achieve appropriate disinfection without forming harmful disinfection byproducts by conventional chemical disinfectants, as well as the growing demand for decentralized or point-of-use water treatment and recycling systems calls for new technologies for efficient disinfection and microbial control. Several natural and engineered nanomaterials have demonstrated strong antimicrobial properties through diverse mechanisms including photocatalytic production of reactive oxygen species that damage cell components and viruses (e.g. TiO2, ZnO and fullerol), compromising the bacterial cell envelope (e.g. peptides, chitosan, carboxyfullerene, carbon nanotubes, ZnO and silver nanoparticles (nAg)), interruption of energy transduction (e.g. nAg and aqueous fullerene nanoparticles (nC(60))), and inhibition of enzyme activity and DNA synthesis (e.g. chitosan). Although some nanomaterials have been used as antimicrobial agents in consumer products including home purification systems as antimicrobial agents, their potential for disinfection or microbial control in system level water treatment has not been carefully evaluated. This paper reviews the antimicrobial mechanisms of several nanoparticles, discusses their merits, limitations and applicability for water disinfection and biofouling control, and highlights research needs to utilize novel nanomaterials for water treatment applications.
09 Jul 2012-Nano Letters
TL;DR: This work suggests that AgNP morphological properties known to affect antimicrobial activity are indirect effectors that primarily influence Ag(+) release, and antibacterial activity could be controlled by modulating Ag(+ release, possibly through manipulation of oxygen availability, particle size, shape, and/or type of coating.
Abstract: For nearly a decade, researchers have debated the mechanisms by which AgNPs exert toxicity to bacteria and other organisms. The most elusive question has been whether the AgNPs exert direct “particle-specific” effects beyond the known antimicrobial activity of released silver ions (Ag+). Here, we infer that Ag+ is the definitive molecular toxicant. We rule out direct particle-specific biological effects by showing the lack of toxicity of AgNPs when synthesized and tested under strictly anaerobic conditions that preclude Ag(0) oxidation and Ag+ release. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the toxicity of various AgNPs (PEG- or PVP- coated, of three different sizes each) accurately follows the dose–response pattern of E. coli exposed to Ag+ (added as AgNO3). Surprisingly, E. coli survival was stimulated by relatively low (sublethal) concentration of all tested AgNPs and AgNO3 (at 3–8 μg/L Ag+, or 12–31% of the minimum lethal concentration (MLC)), suggesting a hormetic response that would be counterproductive t...
01 Aug 2013-Water Research
TL;DR: Recent development in nanotechnology for water and wastewater treatment is reviewed, covering candidate nanomaterials, properties and mechanisms that enable the applications, advantages and limitations as compared to existing processes, and barriers and research needs for commercialization.
Abstract: Providing clean and affordable water to meet human needs is a grand challenge of the 21st century. Worldwide, water supply struggles to keep up with the fast growing demand, which is exacerbated by population growth, global climate change, and water quality deterioration. The need for technological innovation to enable integrated water management cannot be overstated. Nanotechnology holds great potential in advancing water and wastewater treatment to improve treatment efficiency as well as to augment water supply through safe use of unconventional water sources. Here we review recent development in nanotechnology for water and wastewater treatment. The discussion covers candidate nanomaterials, properties and mechanisms that enable the applications, advantages and limitations as compared to existing processes, and barriers and research needs for commercialization. By tracing these technological advances to the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials, the present review outlines the opportunities and limitations to further capitalize on these unique properties for sustainable water management.
01 Nov 2006-Water Research
TL;DR: The potential eco-toxicity of nanosized titanium dioxide, silicon dioxide, and zinc oxide water suspensions was investigated using Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis and Gram-negative Escherichia coli as test organisms, with antibacterial activity increasing with particle concentration.
Abstract: The potential eco-toxicity of nanosized titanium dioxide (TiO(2)), silicon dioxide (SiO(2)), and zinc oxide (ZnO) water suspensions was investigated using Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis and Gram-negative Escherichia coli as test organisms. These three photosensitive nanomaterials were harmful to varying degrees, with antibacterial activity increasing with particle concentration. Antibacterial activity generally increased from SiO(2) to TiO(2) to ZnO, and B. subtilis was most susceptible to their effects. Advertised nanoparticle size did not correspond to true particle size. Apparently, aggregation produced similarly sized particles that had similar antibacterial activity at a given concentration. The presence of light was a significant factor under most conditions tested, presumably due to its role in promoting generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, bacterial growth inhibition was also observed under dark conditions, indicating that undetermined mechanisms additional to photocatalytic ROS production were responsible for toxicity. These results highlight the need for caution during the use and disposal of such manufactured nanomaterials to prevent unintended environmental impacts, as well as the importance of further research on the mechanisms and factors that increase toxicity to enhance risk management.
20 May 2016-Chemical Reviews
TL;DR: It is anticipated that this review can stimulate a new research doorway to facilitate the next generation of g-C3N4-based photocatalysts with ameliorated performances by harnessing the outstanding structural, electronic, and optical properties for the development of a sustainable future without environmental detriment.
Abstract: As a fascinating conjugated polymer, graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) has become a new research hotspot and drawn broad interdisciplinary attention as a metal-free and visible-light-responsive photocatalyst in the arena of solar energy conversion and environmental remediation. This is due to its appealing electronic band structure, high physicochemical stability, and “earth-abundant” nature. This critical review summarizes a panorama of the latest progress related to the design and construction of pristine g-C3N4 and g-C3N4-based nanocomposites, including (1) nanoarchitecture design of bare g-C3N4, such as hard and soft templating approaches, supramolecular preorganization assembly, exfoliation, and template-free synthesis routes, (2) functionalization of g-C3N4 at an atomic level (elemental doping) and molecular level (copolymerization), and (3) modification of g-C3N4 with well-matched energy levels of another semiconductor or a metal as a cocatalyst to form heterojunction nanostructures. The constructi...
01 Aug 2011-Marine Pollution Bulletin
TL;DR: The mechanisms of generation and potential impacts of microplastics in the ocean environment are discussed, and the increasing levels of plastic pollution of the oceans are understood, it is important to better understand the impact of microPlastic in the Ocean food web.
Abstract: This review discusses the mechanisms of generation and potential impacts of microplastics in the ocean environment. Weathering degradation of plastics on the beaches results in their surface embrittlement and microcracking, yielding microparticles that are carried into water by wind or wave action. Unlike inorganic fines present in sea water, microplastics concentrate persistent organic pollutants (POPs) by partition. The relevant distribution coefficients for common POPs are several orders of magnitude in favour of the plastic medium. Consequently, the microparticles laden with high levels of POPs can be ingested by marine biota. Bioavailability and the efficiency of transfer of the ingested POPs across trophic levels are not known and the potential damage posed by these to the marine ecosystem has yet to be quantified and modelled. Given the increasing levels of plastic pollution of the oceans it is important to better understand the impact of microplastics in the ocean food web.
TL;DR: The technical feasibility of various low-cost adsorbents for heavy metal removal from contaminated water has been reviewed and it is evident from the literature survey of about 100 papers that low- cost adsorbent have demonstrated outstanding removal capabilities for certain metal ions as compared to activated carbon.
Abstract: In this article, the technical feasibility of various low-cost adsorbents for heavy metal removal from contaminated water has been reviewed. Instead of using commercial activated carbon, researchers have worked on inexpensive materials, such as chitosan, zeolites, and other adsorbents, which have high adsorption capacity and are locally available. The results of their removal performance are compared to that of activated carbon and are presented in this study. It is evident from our literature survey of about 100 papers that low-cost adsorbents have demonstrated outstanding removal capabilities for certain metal ions as compared to activated carbon. Adsorbents that stand out for high adsorption capacities are chitosan (815, 273, 250 mg/g of Hg(2+), Cr(6+), and Cd(2+), respectively), zeolites (175 and 137 mg/g of Pb(2+) and Cd(2+), respectively), waste slurry (1030, 560, 540 mg/g of Pb(2+), Hg(2+), and Cr(6+), respectively), and lignin (1865 mg/g of Pb(2+)). These adsorbents are suitable for inorganic effluent treatment containing the metal ions mentioned previously. It is important to note that the adsorption capacities of the adsorbents presented in this paper vary, depending on the characteristics of the individual adsorbent, the extent of chemical modifications, and the concentration of adsorbate.
TL;DR: In this paper, the complex mechanisms of Fenton and Fenton-like reactions and the important factors influencing these reactions, from both a fundamental and practical perspective, in applications to water and soil treatment, are discussed.
Abstract: Fenton chemistry encompasses reactions of hydrogen peroxide in the presence of iron to generate highly reactive species such as the hydroxyl radical and possibly others. In this review, the complex mechanisms of Fenton and Fenton-like reactions and the important factors influencing these reactions, from both a fundamental and practical perspective, in applications to water and soil treatment, are discussed. The review covers modified versions including the photoassisted Fenton reaction, use of chelated iron, electro-Fenton reactions, and Fenton reactions using heterogeneous catalysts. Sections are devoted to nonclassical pathways, by-products, kinetics and process modeling, experimental design methodology, soil and aquifer treatment, use of Fenton in combination with other advanced oxidation processes or biodegradation, economic comparison with other advanced oxidation processes, and case studies.
TL;DR: There are three scientific challenges in addressing water-quality problems caused by micropollutants, and usage and disposal strategies should aim to minimize introduction of critical pollutants into the aquatic environment.
Abstract: The increasing worldwide contamination of freshwater systems with thousands of industrial and natural chemical compounds is one of the key environmental problems facing humanity. Although most of these compounds are present at low concentrations, many of them raise considerable toxicological concerns, particularly when present as components of complex mixtures. Here we review three scientific challenges in addressing water-quality problems caused by such micropollutants. First, tools to assess the impact of these pollutants on aquatic life and human health must be further developed and refined. Second, cost-effective and appropriate remediation and water-treatment technologies must be explored and implemented. Third, usage and disposal strategies, coupled with the search for environmentally more benign products and processes, should aim to minimize introduction of critical pollutants into the aquatic environment.