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New Nanocomposite Could Prevent Pollution by Arsenic, Copper Ions in Swine Urine

The development of livestock husbandry has led to the discharge of a huge amount of arsenic (As) and copper (Cu) ions together with swine urine into water bodies and soil. As(III) and Cu(II) are common additives added to fodder to boost swine growth.

Schematic illustration of the mechanism. Image Credit: Qingchuan Wu.

Crops easily absorb As and Cu ions, which in turn accumulate in the human body during consumption of these crops. This leads to detrimental effects on health. This is one of the main issues that restrict the sustainable development of agriculture and livestock husbandry. Thus, it is indispensable to create a new technology to restore swine urine and Cu/As-contaminated water and soil.

A group of researchers headed by Professor Zhengyan Wu from the Institute of Intelligent Machines of the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science was recently able to create a nanocomposite with the ability to eliminate As(III) and Cu(II) at the same time. The researchers employed a coprecipitation technique to produce the nanocomposite using Fe3O4 microspheres and ZIF-8. The newly developed nanosystem was referred to as the FZ.

As part of this study, the research team analyzed FZ’s efficiency of removal of trivalent arsenic (As(III)) and Cu(II) in water under various conditions to achieve the ideal FZ called the FZ4.

The researchers then analyzed the performance of FZ4 for the removal of As(III) and Cu(II) in soil and swine urine aqueous solution. They also investigated the interactions between FZ4, As, and Cu to identify the mechanism of removal of As(III) and Cu(II) by FZ4.

The researchers also performed additional pot experiments to verify and confirm the performance of FZ4 for the removal of As and Cu.

It turns out that FZ4 could effectively reduce the uptake of Cu and As by zebrafish and water spinach.

Zhengyan Wu, Study Lead Author, Institute of Intelligent Machines, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science

This study offers a new technique to eliminate As(III) and Cu(II) from swine urine, water, and soil at the same time. Thus, the technique could find a high application value in decreasing the pollution caused by As(III) and Cu(II).

This study was financially supported by the Science and Technology Service Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Key R&D Program of China, the Key R&D Program of Ningxia Province, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

Journal Reference:

Wu, Q., et al. (2021) Fabrication of Fe3O4/ZIF-8 nanocomposite for simultaneous removal of copper and arsenic from water/soil/swine urine. Journal of Environmental Management.


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