The growing use of plastic materials has led to the continuous accumulation of wastes in marine environments, which fragment into hazardous micro-and nanoplastics. These plastic particles absorb toxic organic pollutants on their surface, support bacterial biofilms growth, and propagate through the food chain, posing serious risks for human health. Therefore, nano/microplastics pollution has become a global issue, making their definitive elimination compulsory. Self-propelled nano/microrobots have demonstrated efficient removal of nano/microplastics from water, combining enhanced physicochemical properties of nano/microscale materials and active motion. During the last year, the potential of this technology to degrade nano/microplastics has been investigated. Here, the most advanced strategies for nano/microplastics capture and subsequent degradation by autonomous nano/microrobots are critically reviewed. A short introduction to the main propulsion mechanisms and experimental techniques for studying nano/microplastics degradation is also provided. Forthcoming challenges in this research field are discussed proactively. This perspective inspires future nano/microrobotic designs and approaches for water purification from nano/microplastics and other emerging pollutants.

Nano/Microplastics Capture and Degradation by Autonomous Nano/Microrobots: A Perspective

Mario Urso;
2022-01-01

Abstract

The growing use of plastic materials has led to the continuous accumulation of wastes in marine environments, which fragment into hazardous micro-and nanoplastics. These plastic particles absorb toxic organic pollutants on their surface, support bacterial biofilms growth, and propagate through the food chain, posing serious risks for human health. Therefore, nano/microplastics pollution has become a global issue, making their definitive elimination compulsory. Self-propelled nano/microrobots have demonstrated efficient removal of nano/microplastics from water, combining enhanced physicochemical properties of nano/microscale materials and active motion. During the last year, the potential of this technology to degrade nano/microplastics has been investigated. Here, the most advanced strategies for nano/microplastics capture and subsequent degradation by autonomous nano/microrobots are critically reviewed. A short introduction to the main propulsion mechanisms and experimental techniques for studying nano/microplastics degradation is also provided. Forthcoming challenges in this research field are discussed proactively. This perspective inspires future nano/microrobotic designs and approaches for water purification from nano/microplastics and other emerging pollutants.
environmental remediation
micromotors
microplastics
nanomotors
nanoplastics
polymers
removal
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/546662
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