Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - STRENCHEM (Strenghtening of the Environmental Chemistry Research)

The world's accelerated economic development in recent decades has led not only to rising income, but also to a rapid urbanisation and an uncontrolled population growth. As a result, the world has encountered a variety of pressing environmental challenges such as climate change/global warming, excessive generation of solid waste, and water pollution, leading to serious environmental degradation in the long-term. Unless immediately tackled, these environmental problems will not only derail our progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but also hold back our development in the 21st century. To address those problems for achieving environmental sustainability, scientific approaches in tackling global water pollution have been undertaken during recent research project at Laboratory of Applied Environmental Chemistry (LAEC) at University of Eastern Finland under the research supervision of Prof. Mika Sillanpää. Main research fields during the project were ion mobility spectrometry (IMS), adsorption, advanced oxidation processes (AOP´s), environmental analysis by electrochemical methods and nanotechnological environmental applications of these.

One of the major results was synthesising of nano/micro structured materials for wastewater treatment. Synthetic magnetic adsorbents, highly active visible light responsive semiconductor photocatalysts were prepared by using a self-assembly process. The mesoporous ZnS was successfully used as a photocatalysts for the dye degradation under UV light irradiation. The photocatalytic degradation experiments indicated that the synthesised photocatalysts found to be excellent activity. The rapid biosynthesis of silver and gold nanoparticles without using toxic chemicals was also found during the project. These could be also applied to removal of the emerging organic contaminants in waters.

Studies were undertaken to evaluate the feasibility of different adsorbents, like lemon peel and nano-alumina, for the removal of cobalt ions from aqueous solutions. The results suggested that these adsorbents can be used beneficially in treating industrial effluents containing heavy metal ions and anions from aqueous solutions. Low-cost adsorbents (prepared by utilising different types of waste materials) have shown good potential for the removal of various aquatic pollutants. However, there are few issues and drawbacks on the use of low-cost adsorbents in water treatment. Additionally, more research is needed to find the practical utility of low-cost adsorbents on commercial scale. Sensitive electrochemical sensor based on a composite of novel pearl-like CdS microspheres and chitosan was constructed and characterised using cyclic voltammetry. Single-stranded DNA and double-stranded DNA were electrochemically adsorbed onto sensor surface and a significant difference in electrochemical impedance spectra of these electrodes was found.

A new amperometric sensor for hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) was fabricated using hollow paramecium like Au/Pt bimetallic nanomaterial modified glass carbon electrode. The sensor showed good repeatability and stability. Moreover, in the field of IMS, constructional improvements of laboratory made calibration system for IMS, mathematical modelling studies of IMS, and applications regarding the detection of mixtures of compounds and ionic liquids by IMS were successfully done. The results obtained have increased the knowhow on utilities and versatility of IMS technology in environmental and chemical analysis.

Recruited researchers have prepared together around 70 research papers and in addition there are many conference papers and abstracts. Seminar presentations and lecture courses by MC-researchers have increased the knowledge of the laboratory to higher level. Many new research projects have been planned and prepared. Lots of new international research contacts have been also established. Research collaboration will continue with current universities researchers have reallocated. It is clearly seen that project has been successful regarding new scientific data and transfer of knowledge within the laboratory.

Reported by