LNNano - Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory

Biochar may be the solution to remediate polymeric nanocomposites residues in soil

Suely Patrícia Costa Gonca̧lves, Mathias Strauss, and Diego Stéfani Teodoro Martinez

Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory (LNNano), Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), Zip Code 13083-970, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.

The environmental contamination of soils by polymeric and nanomaterials is an increasing global concern. Polymeric composites containing silver nanoparticles (AgNP) are collectively one of the most important products of nanotechnology due to their remarkable antimicrobial activity. Biochars are a promising resource for environmental technologies for remediation of soils considering their high inorganic and organic pollutant adsorption capacity and microbial soil consortium stimulation. In this work we report, for the first time, the use of biochar material as a tool to accelerate the degradation of polyhydroxybutyrate-co-valerate (PHBV) and PHBV composites containing AgNP in a tropical soil system, under laboratory conditions. This positive effect is associated with microbial community improvement, which increased the degradation rate of the polymeric materials, as confirmed by integrated techniques for advanced materials characterization. The addition of 5−10% of sugarcane bagasse biochar into soil has increased the degradation of these polymeric materials 2 to 3 times after 30 days of soil incubation. However, the presence of silver nanoparticles in the PHBV significantly reduced the degradability potential of this nanocomposite by the soil microbial community. These results provide evidence that AgNP or Ag+ ions caused a decline in the total number of bacteria and fungi, which diminished the polymer degradation rate in soil. Finally, this work highlights the great potential of biochar resources for application in soil remediation technologies, such as polymeric (nano)material biodegradation.

Environmental Science & Technology
Link: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b01524