Remediation Mercuric Ions via Functionalized Magnetic Nanoparticles
Bennett, Austin Landry
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Mercuric ions, Hg2+, display a unique affinity for sulfur-containing biomolecules because of the soft acid/soft base interaction between Hg2+ and sulfur.1 Many of these biomolecules are used in signal processing and response;2 therefore, Hg2+ is a potent neurotoxin. Chronic exposure to high Hg2+ levels can lead to mercury-poisoning and even death. This research focused on removing Hg2+ from water. Cobalt ferrite nanoparticles were used to separate Hg2+ ions from water. A fair amount of research has been conducted using ferromagnetic nanoparticles and various nitrogenous and oxygen-based ligands, such as triazene compounds and tartrate ligands, to remediate mercuric ions.3,4 Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) were coated with thiol-containing carboxylic acid ligands to bind Hg2+ ions. To combat thiol oxidation, the weak reducing agent dithiothreitol (DTT) was introduced into the Hg2+ solutions. The density of the particles in the Hg2+ solutions and exposure times were varied in order to determine the optimal density and exposure time for Hg2+ removal. In future work, thiol-containing organosilane ligands will be coated onto the particles and tested for Hg2+ removal to be compared against the carboxylic acid ligands.