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Chinese Scientists Develop a New Nanocomposite to Reduce Pig Urine Pollution

Chinese scientists in Institute of Technical Biology and Agriculture Engineering, Hefei institutes of physical science developed a nanocomposite to simultaneously remove some substances that are worse for human’s health in pigs’ urine.

The work was conducted by WU Zhengyan and his team.

The harmful substances they were targeting were chlortetracycline hydrochloride (CTC), a kind of antibiotics and As, a non-metallic element, which have been widely added to feed to treat infectious diseases and promote the growth of pigs.

Nevertheless, just a small portion of intake antibiotics and As are generally absorbed, and a large amount of the two are excreted along with pigs’ urine, through which the substances tend to be migrated into water and soil, causing contamination with synergy toxicity.

Until now, a variety of technologies have been developed to remove antibiotics or As from water and soil. However, they all could only remove antibiotics or As separately rather than realizing that simultaneously, which dominantly limits their extensive application.

To get a simultaneous removement of the two substances, WU and his team develop a nanonetwork-structured composite which could help to realize it in application

This nanocomposite was synthesized using amido-functionalized Fe3O4 microspheres (AFFM) and MnO2, and the obtained nano system was named as AFFM/MnO2(OAM).
The removal efficiency of OAM on CTC and trivalent arsenic (As(III)) in water were investigated under different conditions to obtain the optimal OAM.

Then, the team took a closer look at the removal performance of OAM on CTC and As(III) in SUAS and soil. The interactions among OAM, CTC, and As were analyzed to reveal the mechanism on CTC and As(III) removal.

Additionally, pot experiments were performed to prove the removal performance of OAM for CTC and As. OAM could effectively reduce the uptake of CTC and As by zebrafish, water spinach, and pakchoi.

This work may provide a method to remove CTC and As(III) simultaneously in SUAS and soil, which may be highly valued in reducing CTC and As(III) pollution.

This research was supported by the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Science and Technology Service Programs of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Science and Technology Major Project of Anhui Province, and the Environmental Protection Department of Anhui Province.

The research was published in Environmental Science: Nano entitled “Functionalized nanocomposite for simultaneous removal of antibiotics and As(III) in swine urine aqueous solution and soil

Schematic illustration of mechanism. (Image by WANG Dongfang)