Novel magnetic core-shell nanoparticles for the removal of polychlorinated biphenyls from contaminated water sources

Angela M. Gutierrez, Rohit Bhandari, Jiaying Weng, Arnold Stromberg, Thomas D. Dziubla, J. Zach Hilt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In this work, we developed novel core-shell nanoparticle systems with magnetic core and polymer shell via atom transfer radical polymerization for use as high affinity nanoadsorbents for organic contaminants in water and wastewater treatment. Polyphenolic-based moieties, curcumin multiacrylate (CMA) and quercetin multiacrylate (QMA), were incorporated into poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) based polymeric shells to create high affinity binding sites for the capture of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as a model pollutant. The resulting magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), dynamic light scattering (DLS), and UV-visible spectroscopy. The affinity of these novel materials for PCB 126 was evaluated and fitted to the nonlinear Langmuir model to determine binding affinities (KD). The KD values obtained were: PEG MNPs (8.42 nM) < IO MNPs (8.23 nM) < QMA MNPs (5.88 nM) < CMA MNPs (2.72 nM), demonstrating that the presence of polyphenolic-based moieties enhanced PCB 126 binding affinity, which is hypothesized to be a result of π – π stacking interactions. These values are lower that KD values for activated carbon, providing strong evidence that these novel core-shell nanoparticles have a promising application as nanoadsorbents for specific organic contaminants offering a cost effective alternative to current remediation approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-74
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Chemistry and Physics
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dr. Andrew Morris and Dr. Sony Soman for their help in method development for GC-ECD analysis and allowing us to use their facilities at the University of Kentucky's small molecule mass spectrometry core laboratory. This project was supported by the grant number P42ES007380 the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences . The content of this paper is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the view of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Core-shell nanoparticles
  • Environmental remediation
  • Iron oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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